What Is Toxic Positivity — and How Is It Harming Your Loved Ones?

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We’re all familiar with the "Is the glass half empty or half full?" question. Sure, it’s a straightforward way to gauge one’s inclination toward pessimism or optimism, but, often, real-life situations aren’t so clear-cut. There seems to be a societal pressure to "try and see the silver lining" or to cheer up our friends and offer solutions when they come to us with grievances, frustrations and problems. But is leaning toward positivity and constantly inserting a "bright side" point of view really the best way to go about things? It turns out that line of thought may be a slippery slope.

While engaging in positive thinking can be helpful, there’s been a swell in what mental health experts have dubbed "toxic positivity" — "the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset" (via Verywell Mind). This overemphasis on the positive side of things means folks end up dismissing negative or difficult emotions instead of facing them. And, as it turns out, that kind of never-ending cheerful facade can do more harm than good.