I always admired people who can stay positive no matter what and considered it a great skill to have. Apparently, it’s not always a good idea and can lead to a TOXIC POSITIVITY.
Having an optimistic mindset is very good for our mental and physical health. But taking it to the extreme by denying negative
emotions the right to exist is toxic positivity and can be very damaging.
Those are examples of toxic positivity expressions:
❌ Tough times don’t last forever,
❌ Look on the bright side,
❌ Everything happens for a reason,
❌ Don’t worry about that,
❌ Just stay positive,
❌ It could have been worse.
Although you might have the best intentions in mind, people on the receiving side can get a very different message:
🔸 Having and showing negative emotions is unacceptable here,
🔸 Your troubles are not that serious in my eyes,
🔸 You are not good enough or strong enough if you can’t stay positive in that circumstances.
Leaders who display toxic positivity can trigger shame, guilt, self-doubts, and low self-esteem in their team members. In turn, it can result in low motivation, higher levels of stress and anxiety, and burnout.
It’s not an easy task to help others get through challenging times. Leaders are expected to show empathy, support and understanding
even when they need help too.
Here are some examples you can use when guiding someone through a difficult situation:
✔ I am here to listen and help.
✔ What you are going through must be tough.
✔ How does all of that make you feel?
✔ Failure is incredibly upsetting.
✔ I am on your side.