Toxic positivity is counterproductive

Morgan Montgomery, Editor-In-Chief

Believe it or not, toxic positivity does indeed exist. A lot of people have experienced toxic positivity even in their day to day life, a lot have even from parents. Toxic positivity is defined as positivity to the point of no room for any emotions other than happy ones. Students and especially teachers experience toxic positivity. 

Toxic positivity is very invalidating to people’s feelings. Not allowing people, or yourself, to feel and express negative emotions only causes the problems to worsen because they aren’t being dealt with. It also makes the person feel wrong for having emotions other than happiness and emotions of that sort which, in turn, can make someone feel much worse. 

Junior Kaylee McGroarty doesn’t believe that one should always keep a positive mindset. 

“I think it’s good to keep a positive mindset, but I think if you don’t address things and let things hurt, you can’t heal from them,” McGroarty said. 

Senior Dixon Paul believes there are times to acknowledge other emotions.

“There’s definitely benefits to having a wider range of emotion than just always being happy,” Paul said. “That’s a scary thing to do in a world like this when not everything’s great.”

English teacher Kylie Thompson experiences toxic positivity “every day” in her profession.

“I feel like being a teacher you get a lot of toxic positivity thrown at you, like from the community and from society like, ‘just keep going’, ‘it’s for the kids’ or whatever. And yeah it is for the kids but like, also we need help too,” Thompson said.

Thompson, though she doesn’t agree with it, has admitted that she may have been toxically positive. 

“I think with everything we’ve went through the past 2 years, toxic positivity was everywhere and I think just not really knowing how else to talk about [covid] with students. Because I don’t even know how to process it, I think there were a lot of times when I was just toxic being positive because that’s the only way I knew how to handle what was going on,” Thompson said.  

Freshman Tegan Obrecht, despite not wanting to engage in toxic positivity, says it’s hard not to be. 

“Sometimes it’s kinda hard to support people and like know what to say, because like I’ve had friends like come to me to talk about situations that are happening with them and they’re like, sad about something and it’s hard not to say ‘don’t cry’ or like ‘don’t feel this way,’” Obrecht said.  

The key to ending toxic positivity, or at least reducing it, is awareness. 

“We just need to openly talk about things,” Thompson said. “If something’s bothering us or we’re all going through like the pandemic still, instead of just saying ‘push through it’, ‘it’ll be okay’, whatever, I feel like if we actually have conversations, we actually talked about it and came up with problem solving techniques and what not, it would be better for us all around.”