If one more Instagram influencer, rolling around half naked on a beach in the Maldives, yells that I must exude “Good Vibes Only!”, I swear on their g-string bikinis that I’ll forward them the bill for my antidepressant medication.
What those three words ultimately communicate is that if you are experiencing any emotions besides profound joy, you are not welcome here. There is no space for you. You – and only you – are responsible for your emotions, and if you’re feeling down, then the answer is simple. Cheer up. Smile. Laugh! Things aren’t so bad, you big old sad sack.
If only the solution to the complicated tapestry of human emotion was a few syllables. An energetic pep talk by a friend. An exorcism of all that is bad and then a few minutes of recognising the good in everything.
The silent danger of toxic positivity, today on The Quicky. Post continues below.
It would seem that if demanding ‘good vibes’ were, in fact, a solid way to induce good vibes, then suicide wouldn’t be the leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds globally.
That’s not a very ‘good vibes’ thing to say, is it?
Psychotherapist Whitney Hawkins Goodman has termed this kind of language “toxic positivity”, suggesting that remarks like ‘just be positive!’ and ‘think happy thoughts!’ are dismissive and invalidating.
“I want you to know,” she wrote on her Instagram sitwithwhit this week, “that worry, joy, fear, happiness, pain, rage, anger, sadness (and more) are all part of the human condition,” and rejecting them is unhelpful.
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Bringing back my most infamous post with a few edits. I’ve realized people HATE the word toxic. I hear ya’ll. Got a lot of comments on “never give up.” Decided to keep it. There are relationships, life goals, plans and situations that is OK to give up on. Not everything needs to result in completion. Sometimes it is safer to give up. We owe each other the space to discuss the options. I added a few sayings here and moved things around based on your feedback. What are some other positive sayings that you think are totally dismissive?