Are You or Your Patients Experiencing

“Toxic Positivity”?

Discover what “toxic positivity” is
and techniques for overcoming it

I used to think that it was my mission in life to ‘stay positive,’ no matter what. Whatever went on in my family I’d be the shining light. I only need to maintain a positive attitude, and all would be well. Because so many people told me growing up that I was so happy and positive, I decided that was the way I had to be. Even if I wasn’t feeling happy. If I was really angry, I would still put on that positive spin and try to make the best of things. When I was sick or hurt, I did my best to put on a brave face and carry on.

Many, many years later I became aware of how our minds can sabotage us into unhealthy ways of thinking. It’s just a fact of life that if you’ve lived on the planet for any number of years, you’re gonna have some thoughts that aren’t serving you – that hold you down – so to speak. Some of them are actually demoralizing, and could be downright terrifying, if you were to say them out loud to someone else!

Now that I practice Positive Intelligence I’m aware of these inner saboteurs, and one of them is the “people pleaser.” I realize it’s something that I’m still working on. I’m so grateful to have this knowledge that I can share with others.

The “People Pleaser”

Being a people pleaser meant that I would, at any cost, try to make everyone else happy, even at the sake of my own happiness. Nobody wanted to be upset, or see me upset, and therefore it was my job – my vocation – my calling – to make sure that I would figure out a way to fix things. And, if I couldn’t, I would figure out a way to put the blame on myself, so the other person wouldn’t feel bad. I was definitely practicing ‘toxic positivity.’

I wanted to bring this up because it’s something I’ve seen and experienced many times. Something much more problematic than a negative attitude, and that’s one of toxic positivity.

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Toxic Positivity

Well, when some people go into a healthcare office, be it the doctor or dentist, what’s more problematic than those that are overly expressive and exaggerative about how miserable they feel, are the ones saying nothing at all. I’m talking about the people who don’t wanna make waves, don’t wanna say anything because they don’t want to look bad, at any cost. They plaster on that smile, and hope that the healthcare person won’t find something wrong, because if they do then they, the patient, have ‘failed somehow’. Or they hope that the doctor is at least clairvoyant, so they don’t have to offer details.

If you’re a people pleaser, you might decide not to ‘bother’ the doctor with details. You put a positive spin on how you’re feeling, and even if you’re scared about what’s happening with your body; you don’t want to come across as ‘difficult.’ So you just say “oh I’m fine,” even if you’re anything but!

toxicArtboard 1

Disarm & Repel Toxic Positivity

So, what could help repel toxic positivity? Well, one thing you could do is practice an awareness of the need to only handle what needs to be handled in the present moment. Overwhelm can take over quickly any fears from family, friends, social media, etc., can bring a sense of panic and a need to make things look good on the surface.

It’s so important that doctors and dentists:

  1. Let the patients know they know we’re all doing our best.
  2. Have a level of empathy that the patient can feel
  3. Understand that patients might try to stifle their true fears and concerns.

If patients feel they have been dismissed before, why try now. This attitude could increase their distress and stop any effective communication to get the patient feeling better.

I would say for people who worry about going to appointments and for those stuck in a people pleaser mode: know you’re AMAZING in making others feel better. Now you need to make sure that you’re making yourself feel better.

Tools to Help

You can create many different tools to help you:

  • mantras
  • affirmations
  • movements
  • music

Something that is going to help displace the constant nagging, worrying thoughts that can accompany us especially if we’re worried about symptoms, or a possible diagnosis, or if we feel we need to go get some care but not sure how to ask. Clapping your hands, rubbing your fingertips together, jumping up and down, making some noise! Whatever you have to do to create a new moment in our thoughts, because that helps us feel in control, and we all deserve to be in control of our thoughts. We all have the power to choose what we’re thinking, to think in a positive way.

Toxic Positivity
Stop Being So Negative!
You Just Have To Be Positive!
Never Give Up!
You Should Look For The Good!
There Are Worse Things Out There
I'm Sure It's Not As Bad As It Seems
It Will All Be Ok.
Hope & Validation
It's Normal To Feel Negative In This Situation
I'm Sure It Feels Hard To Be Positive In A Situation Like This
It's Okay To Give Up Sometimes
It's Probably Hard To Seen Any Good In This. How Can We Make Sense Of If?
This Is Really Tough And I Am Here For You
This Is Hard, But I Believe In You To Get Get Through It.
I Understand Why It Doesn't Feel Okay Right Now.

True Positivity

Maintaining a true positive outlook is knowing that no matter what is coming your way you can handle it, and a key is only handling your ‘stuff.’ A lot of times we tend to put other people’s stress on ourselves, their fears, their anger, their frustrations, but we were only meant to handle the stuff that’s ours. Anything else puts you into a persistent state of stress which is terrible for your mind and definitely detrimental over time for your body.

Wordcloud about TOXIC POSITIVITY. typical statements people make but they don't help a person with mental problems.If I were to offer any advice to people, as far as how to maintain a positive attitude, I think I would say to stop trying to maintain a positive attitude. Why? Because it isn’t about maintaining so much as being curious about what we’re feeling in the moment, and being okay with it, knowing moments pass.

I love being a Positive Intelligence coach and helping people see we all have some saboteurs in our minds, and at any moment, with love and practice, we can guide our thoughts back to a place of knowing, as long as, we’re in the moment, this is the best way to get the care our bodies need.

It’s not about slapping on a grin as the sky is falling all around. To have a positive attitude is not about trying to make everything great and make everyone feel happy all the time. It’s really about understanding that when we have the tools to handle what life is giving us on any given day, and if the stuff that we’re dealing with is ours, then it’s actually much easier to maintain a sense of well-being. That’s the positivity vital for our bodies and our mind.

We all need to be acknowledged and validated, and when patients feel this, it opens a new world of positive possibilities.