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Toxic Positivity: Not All That’s Good, Is Good

We’ve all had bad days and difficult periods in our lives. When a loved one such as a friend or family member is going through something difficult, we would want to give them as much support as we can. But have you ever wondered if the support you’re giving to them is helpful?

We may bring with us good intentions and the hope that our friends or family members feel better through what we say, but sometimes the words we use may do more harm than good. Uttering positive and encouraging phrases may not necessarily be helpful all the time.

Imagine someone close to you has just lost someone dear to him/her in a car accident. By saying words like “you’ll be fine” or “I’ve been through it too you’ll get over it”, you are invalidating the fact that this person is grieving and that having negative thoughts is frowned upon (the irony!). What he/she may end up feeling from those words may be a feeling of guilt and shame, which will only exacerbate what this person is going through.

If someone is going through a difficult phase in their life, it would be more helpful if we can just sit with them and give them the safe space to experience these negative emotions. If you can’t think of anything to say, just being by their side and providing a listening ear is probably one of the best supports that they can get.


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