“You Are Being Rescued, Do Not Resist”: 40 Of The Best Ominous Positivity Posts From This Online Page Interview
You’re loved. You matter. You’re worth more than you know. You WILL be happy. You’d better believe it. Or else! This is the type of aggressive optimism that the ‘Ominous Positivity Memes’ online project bonks you on the head with. And we can’t help but love it.
We’re featuring some of their best, most positive memes that made us laugh and smile (no, seriously, we can’t stop, and it’s starting to scare us). Scroll down and upvote the memes that you enjoyed the most. You WILL enjoy them. They WILL make you feel better about yourself. You have no choice!
Sadness, go away. It’s time for self-care now. And remember... stay hydrated to take care of your meatsuits, Dear Goblins.
Bored Panda reached out to the founder of 'Ominous Positivity Memes,' Chris Ryan, who was kind enough to walk us through how the project got started, why he thinks it's so successful, why posts telling people to stay hydrated are so popular, and how all of these memes, at their core, resonate with our inner desire to help other people.
"I think everyone wants to help people, even if they are deep cynics. It's just that sometimes the only person someone can help is themselves. These memes reflect that. We can't do as much individually to save the dissolving ozone layer but we can make sure that we eat, move, and stay hydrated. We also want to help our friends even if we can't help ourselves," Chris told us.
"So in order to do that we turn to encouragement. We need a message that will resonate with our peers and these slightly threatening messages of inevitable hope work better (for some) than flowery messages of a hope that is something hard to imagine is actually true. Self-worth can be a large goal for some people. I think for some it's more about just surviving so they need this message of, 'I'm gonna survive no matter what' and if seeing these memes that they can send their friend to say, 'You're gonna survive too and that's a threat' help then great!" Scroll down for Bored Panda's full and exclusive interview with Chris.
Bored Panda also got in touch with Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant Lee Chambers, who is the founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing and PhenomGames. We had a chat about toxic positivity, what it is, and why it's harmful to our mental health. Read on for our full interview with Lee as well.
Chris, the founder of 'Ominous Positivity Memes' told Bored Panda that the project is something that he cares about deeply. "It has become my entire brand and online presence. While I didn't coin the term Ominous Positivity, as far as I can tell, I'm the only one running any socials dedicated to Ominous Positivity Memes," he said.
Ominous Positivity, as a phenomenon, originally started with user Spillybun's post on Tumblr: "You will be okay. You have no choice." Chris shared with us that the term, Ominous Positivity, instantly resonated with him and left a deep mark. "I recall seeing it on Tumblr many years ago. I kinda expected it to catch on, but I guess it never quite did. That original Tumblr post came across my Facebook feed again sometime in 2019 and I shared it with just the hashtag #ominouspositivity. That feeling of resonance stuck, so over a few months I shared a few more things with that hashtag and people really seemed to enjoy them."
Realizing that there was an audience that resonated with these sorts of posts, Chris officially started the 'Ominous Positivity Memes' page on Facebook on July 29, 2019. "I had saved plenty of content over the months to get the ball rolling. I figured I'll just keep posting what I've got and what I enjoy and whatever comes of it cool. I was not expecting it to blow up as fast as it did. We hit 10k within a month and 100k in less than a year," he said that the project continues to grow. OPM spread to other major social media sites and the founder even started up an official merch store.
The founder of OPM revealed that most of the project's audience is made up of people from the US, mostly between 20 and 35 years of age. Bored Panda wanted to get Chris' opinion on why the memes are so popular. He believes it's due to a variety of reasons.
"Especially us Millennials were raised with the message that a positive attitude can overcome all. Think of the classic cat pulling itself up poster with the words, 'Hang in there!' Well, all of the positive thinking in the world didn't stop us from inheriting a ruined economy and planet from previous generations nor stop the near onslaught of 'once in a lifetime' tragedies. So as a whole we tend to be cynical now," he said.
"Messages of, 'Hang in there!' and, 'You can do it!' are not met well because they sound like the fake things we were told through gritted teeth. We can't believe in being positive anymore because either it didn't work for us as a generation or more individually just remind of us the lies we were fed growing up. So the art and comedy, mostly through memes, has begun to reflect that cynicism." Chris explained.
"Posts threatening people to drink water and stay hydrated always do well because guaranteed my audience is overworked and dehydrated. But feel-good posts of, 'Drink some water please' and, 'Gotta stay hydrated out there!' don't work and are met with eye rolls and scoffs because like, yeah, we know. However, we CAN hear, peer to peer, the message of, 'You better drink some water to take care of your sentient meat bag, you little goblin' or, 'Stay hydrated cause you're not leaving this terrible planet before I do' because it reflects the reality of struggles we are already going through."
Psychologist Lee, from the UK, explained to Bored Panda that toxic positivity means always trying to focus on the positive and how this causes negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions to be suppressed and ignored. This, as you can guess, is very unhealthy. "As human beings, we have the full range of emotions, from deepest despair to blazing joy for a reason, and neglecting to find healthy ways to express our negative feelings is damaging and can cause us to become unaware of our mental health," the expert told us.
"Forcing positivity can keep us doing things that are not serving us, stop us from seeing when we are being exploited, and have us ignoring warning signs, putting us in danger and becoming less self-aware. It can also prevent us from accepting that some things just aren’t great, and it’s that acceptance that often allows us to move through this period and see a brighter future," Lee shared exactly how toxic positivity can prevent us from growing, healing, adapting, and improving as people.
"And toxic positivity can deny us being our true selves, forcing us to assume a 'good vibes only' identity, and stop us from asking for help or being vulnerable when we are struggling. We need to foster a level of authentic positivity and gratitude, to help us generate hope and optimism, and celebrate the good things that happen. But if we don’t let the negative energy inside of us have recognition and release, it will impact our self-esteem and confidence in the long run, and have us avoiding the reality of the life we lead," Lee said.
Meanwhile, Chris, the founder of OPM, definitely thinks that there can be such a thing as too much positivity, too. "Toxic positivity comes up a lot in my comments and I think most people misunderstand the concept. Toxic positivity is saying that you have to be positive no matter what. It's saying that you aren't allowed to recognize the negative or reflect on it. It's all love and, 'Good vibes only.'
The founder of OPM believes that justice can't exist if we ignore the realities of life. "Something love is is fierce and harsh. So not only does Ominous Positivity cut the saccharine nature of some flowery language of positivity but it also says, 'Yeah things are kind of [bad] right now, but that won't stop me from being a force of love and good in this world so watch out!' It allows for the recognition of the bad and making the choice to not succumb to it anyway whereas toxic positivity says to ignore all the bad in the blind hope of things being better."
One of Chris' pet peeves is to see the people in the comments of a post like 'Things will get better. You have no choice' saying that it's allegedly an example of toxic positivity. They're missing the point, the founder told Bored Panda. "These posts on OPM are not saying, 'Ignore the bad, you just have to be positive,' they are saying, 'Things will actually get better whether you believe in that or not. The world doesn't revolve around you and doesn't care what you think. It's gonna keep on improving no matter what!' And there is some comfort in releasing the sense of personal responsibility that like, my own attitude determines how well things around me are or will become. That can be a lot of pressure that frankly doesn't need to be there."
The ‘Ominous Positivity Memes’ project is a testament to the fact that social media has room for seemingly contradictory ideas (overwhelming aggression on the one hand, optimism and support on the other) that fit better than expected.
And, wow, does the internet love ominously positive memes. We know that numbers don’t mean everything. But we still can’t help but applaud the project for racking up nearly 700k followers on Facebook and another 82.7k on Instagram.
‘Ominous Positivity Memes’ has a very simple premise. Sharing powerful posts that make you believe in yourself, whether you want to or not. It’s a great way to drag you out of your current frame of mind if you’re feeling blue, all while making you chuckle.
“When you are faced with a world that doesn't care about you: fill it with Love. Aggressively. Or Else,” the project describes itself on social media, taking away any and all choice in being happy in life that you thought you had.
A large chunk of our happiness comes from helping others. Sarah Vero from the ‘Action for Happiness’ project told Bored Panda that the 10 keys to happier living are: “Giving, relating, exercising, awareness, trying out, direction, resilience, emotions, acceptance, and meaning. We are likely to be happier if our lives have direction, meaning, and purpose and if we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”
Even small acts of kindness can make us feel better while also making the world a far better, brighter place. "Think about how you can reach out and do things for others, help a neighbor or volunteer for a cause, we get happiness high from helping other people. Or start small and simply list three things that you can be grateful for each night before bed,” she said.
Vanessa King, the Head of Psychology at ‘Action for Happiness,’ explained to Bored Panda that altruism is the social glue that keeps us together. Human beings are social beings, after all. We can’t thrive without each other.
“When we do things for others it activates the reward center in the brain, so when we give a gift it feels the same as receiving a gift," she said that we’re biologically hardwired to help others.
“Small daily actions one at a time can help us to make altruism a lifetime habit. You could start out small by deciding you are going to smile at everyone you meet or pay three people a compliment today,” she told Bored Panda.
According to her, donating to a food bank, giving money to charity, volunteering, or helping out an elderly neighbor all make us feel better. “All of these actions help others and boost your own happiness and if we are happier, research shows we are even more likely to help others,” Vanessa noted.