We live in a time of a spiritual awakening and revolution — one where mindfulness, positivity, and self-awareness are coming to the forefront of a lot of our lives. Most of this movement is good and propels us toward better mental, physical, and emotional health. It can quickly turn toxic, however, if we become entrenched in “Good Vibes Only” culture.
Good vibes only culture creates what is referred to as toxic positivity. What is toxic positivity? To keep it simple, it’s oversimplifying happiness, a state of optimism that results in the denial, minimization and invalidation of true, authentic human expression. When someone believes and practices the ‘good vibes only’ way of life they do way more harm to those around them than good. This toxic positivity is even exemplified in mainstream catch phrases, like: “Don’t worry, be happy!”, “Everything happens for a reason.”, or “It could be worse.” You’ve heard them used a lot, seen them on t-shirts, and no doubt have seen them posted all over your Instagram feed.
When someone uses these sorts of catch phrases to respond to your pain, aren’t you left feeling unheard or unacknowledged? Like your feelings didn’t matter at all to them? This isn’t uncommon. When you interact with someone who will throw out these phrases and professes to live by the “good vibes only” movement, it can tend to leave you feeling empty and diminished. That’s because built within these types of catch phrases is toxic non-acceptance. They diminish your feelings around whatever it is that you’re currently dealing with, when in fact you may be attempting to reach out to someone with something you’re struggling with. Those who choose to say these things and live this way are more often than not simply trying to make themselves feel comfortable rather than hearing what you’re actually feeling.
“..it can tend to leave you empty and diminished.”
It’s okay to not be okay. So many of us are afraid to say that out loud, but try it for a second as you’re reading this. Say, “It’s okay to not be okay.” It’s okay for me to not be okay all the time. Acknowledging and being authentic about what you’re truly feeling is part of accepting things for what they are, and a way to be able to restore yourself to a place of self-empowerment. And empowerment never needs a catchphrase.
The “good vibes only” movement creates toxicity within a lot of people (toxic positivity) because of its non-acceptance. It’s like brushing off things that are happening as if they don’t matter. Yes, it’s true that everything is temporary, but without authentic awareness and acceptance of what is, you’re creating more bad than good. So, ditch the ‘good vibes’ and replace them with authenticity. It may not get you more Instagram likes, but it sure will feel a whole lot better.
What do you think of toxic positivity? Did you know it existed before this post? Did you have any self-realizations? Let us know in the comments below!
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