Having negative feelings will certainly make a person feel uncomfortable and tend to withdraw from his social environment. This causes a person to feel alien to the social conditions around him. Therefore, it takes support from the surrounding environment so that a person feels better and is able to carry out his functions as before.
Encouraging others is one way that can be done so that a person avoids negative feelings in himself such as sadness, disappointment, anger, and guilt. But, unfortunately, sometimes the way we give encouragement can actually be toxic to certain people. Why is that? This can happen because the time and condition when we encourage that person is not right. This is what is called toxic positivity. For more information, you can skim about toxic positivity below.
Toxic positivity is a condition when a person demands himself or others to always think and act positively and reject negative emotions. This is also in accordance with Kirnandhita’s (2019) statement. Toxic positivity occurs when a person continuously encourages others who are experiencing misfortune to see things from the good side, without considering the experiences felt and, without giving other people the opportunity to express their feelings.
Someone who is trapped in toxic positivity will continue to try to avoid negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, or disappointment, from something that happened. In fact, negative emotions are also important to feel and express. In a more severe condition when a person is in a condition of being depressed or grieving and forcing himself to stay positive, maybe even pretending to be positive until the thing that worries him happens. According to Cherry (2021) there are several characteristics of toxic positivity including: hiding the feelings that are actually being felt, seeming to avoid or let problems, feel guilty when feeling or expressing negative emotions, trying to encourage others, but often accompanied by statements that seem disparaging, often say sentences that compare oneself to others, and make sentences that blame people who are in trouble.
By knowing and understanding about toxic positivity, it is hoped that everyone will be more aware that actually validating each existing feeling by empathizing is one of the most valuable activities for everyone, because with empathy we can understand that in fact every feeling is valid and takes time to be processed to the next stage. By understanding about toxic positivity as well, a person will be able to become more positive in the right and appropriate way.
Cherry, K. Verywell Mind (2021). What Is Toxic Positivity?
Kirnandita, Patricia (2019) Toxic positivity: Saat Ucapan Penyemangat Malah Terasa Menyengat. Tirto.id. Retrived Mei 10, 2022, from https://tirto.id/toxic-positivity-saatucapanpenyemangat-malah-terasa-menyengat-dhLM
Anna Novita. (2020). Perancangan Komik Untuk Memperkenalkan Bahaya Toxic Positivity Pada Remaja. Thesis Universitas Katolik Soegijapranata. Retrived Mei 15, 2022, from http://repository.unika.ac.id/id/eprint/24837