Just like the ocean ebbs and flows, life also comes with the good and the bad. Positives and negatives arrive, then retreat, in waves. This cyclical tide of life entirely natural and inevitable. It’s beautiful.
In the same way, our lives are full of ups and downs — but the tough stuff can be special and meaningful, too.
Going through rough moments leaves us with a renewed ability to appreciate the good. We reconnect with feelings of immense gratitude for what brings peace, joy and love to the winding road that is our lives.
But what happens when we force ourselves to see the well and good in everything, rather than honouring the tough times for the growth moments they are?
When we do this, we experience toxic positivity, and it’s a habit that is not serving us well.
Toxic positivity means dismissing our negative emotions. We respond to our distress with false reassurances. We remove empathy and understanding for ourselves, then replace it with a ‘pick yourself up by the bootstraps’ mentality that does nothing to create personal, long-lasting growth from challenging situations.
We push away the hard moments in favour of temporary feel-good mantras, maintaining a faux-positive mindset that nears an obsession with positive thinking.
Truly, what we’re doing with toxic positivity is pushing away our most authentic thoughts and feelings. This is especially harmful in the ‘low’ moments — the days we should be most mindful, aware and present for what is occurring in our hearts and minds.
Toxic positivity stops us from processing the present. And that’s a vital thing to do, even when life gets tough, because experiencing challenges is what helps us grow into kind, understanding, empathetic and strong human beings.
So, today, check in with yourself. How are you really feeling?
If you’re stressed, honour it. If you’re upset, identify it. If you’re angry, dig deeper into it.
Forget trying to change it for a moment. Sit with it. You don’t need to pretend everything is okay when it isn’t.
Instead, reach towards self love. Be real. Be open. Practice accepting all parts of you — the good and bad included. The ups and downs are just all part of life's rich tapestry.
Take in all in. Breathe deep as the waves hit the shore. As you honour the lows, the highs will come.