In the social media age, building an outward image of success, happiness, and well-being is an easy trap to fall into, especially when it comes to showcasing your professional passion and purpose. While it might sound counterintuitive, positivity can be toxic. When you’re going through a difficult time or in a period of flux, toxic positivity can bubble up in the form of well-intentioned but still harmful sentiments. “Happiness is a choice,” “just stay positive,” and “everything happens for a reason” are all examples of clichés that can end up shaming and blaming the person who is attempting to navigate the tough situation.
While finding your professional passion and purpose, know that it’s okay and normal to feel sad, scared, lost, anxious, and a host of other unhappy emotions, and it’s also possible to feel negative and positive emotions at the same time while on this journey; you can simultaneously feel nervous and hopeful about your future.
If you feel toxic positivity creeping in, try a few of these techniques:
- Instead of avoiding negative emotions, give yourself permission to feel them without expecting too much from yourself.
- Implement a self-care routine, find healthy ways to manage your anxiety and stress, and focus on concrete actions you can take to feel better and more in control. Consider meditation, yoga, or journaling.
- Take a social media break if you find that “positive” social media accounts or “uplifting” quotes leave you feeling ashamed, feeling guilty, or comparing yourself to others.