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Therapist Explains The Important Difference Between Support And ‘Toxic Positivity’ In One Simple Chart
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Therapist Explains The Important Difference Between Support And ‘Toxic Positivity’ In One Simple Chart

When someone comes to you with bad news or a problem they are facing it’s a natural reflex for most of us to say something along the lines of “just be positive!” – well, one therapist is here to tell you, this advice is toxic. Nobody wants to be kicked when they are already down so naturally, we think that telling people uplifting mantras about positivity will give them the boost they need, but this is not always the case.

Psychotherapist Whitney Hawkins Goodman, LMFT, owner of The Collaborative Counseling Center, runs an Instagram account called @sitwithwhit where she shared an important chart on the difference between giving someone ‘validation and hope’ versus ‘toxic positivity’ and it’s making waves on the internet.

Psychotherapist Whitney Hawkins Goodman created a chart to educate people on the difference between validation and ‘toxic positivity’ – and it’s going viral

The therapist explained that she found the ‘toxic positivity’ sayings from Pinterest, which can be harmless mantras for some but for people going through a tough time they can have a deeper effect.

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Image credits: sitwithwhit

Along with the post Goodman wrote: “I’ve realized people HATE the word toxic. I hear ya’ll. Got a lot of comments on “never give up.” Decided to keep it. There are relationships, life goals, plans and situations that is OK to give up on. Not everything needs to result in completion. Sometimes it is safer to give up. We owe each other the space to discuss the options,” and asked her followers, “What are some other positive sayings that you think are totally dismissive?”

People loved the chart and thought it nailed this very important lesson

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 years ago

The Toxic Positivity poster collection is at my gym. It's why I quit going. I can't just "be happy" or "get over it" with a snap of my fingers to suit the rest of society. Sometimes, permission to feel rotten is what you need to feel *better*. Weird, but true...

Dynein
Community Member
3 years ago

It's not weird, it's reasonable. It's just the same with physical problems - you don't just "get over" a broken arm or a really messy room, you have to deal with them first as the problems they are. It's like saying "ignore the pain and use that arm like normal" or "just clean up your room (but don't bring out any trash and also be really fast, i.w. sweep the mess under the rug)". It's just bound to make everything worse. Mental health needs some nurture, too.

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Wanda Queen
Community Member
3 years ago

"Choose happiness" is my personal favorite. Oh, yeah right, why didn't I think of that?

Falcon
Community Member
3 years ago

I don't know why, but when I read your comment all I could think about was "I choose you - Happiness!" with Ashes voice from Pokémon. 🤔

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Daria B
Community Member
3 years ago

This is a very important post, I wish more people were interested about these things. Turns out, the "toxic positivity" ones are harmful mostly because they don't really say anything, those terms are all ambiguous and relative. Not real solutions.

Leodavinci
Community Member
3 years ago

The other side of the chart isn't exactly offering solutions, either.

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 years ago

The Toxic Positivity poster collection is at my gym. It's why I quit going. I can't just "be happy" or "get over it" with a snap of my fingers to suit the rest of society. Sometimes, permission to feel rotten is what you need to feel *better*. Weird, but true...

Dynein
Community Member
3 years ago

It's not weird, it's reasonable. It's just the same with physical problems - you don't just "get over" a broken arm or a really messy room, you have to deal with them first as the problems they are. It's like saying "ignore the pain and use that arm like normal" or "just clean up your room (but don't bring out any trash and also be really fast, i.w. sweep the mess under the rug)". It's just bound to make everything worse. Mental health needs some nurture, too.

Load More Replies...
Wanda Queen
Community Member
3 years ago

"Choose happiness" is my personal favorite. Oh, yeah right, why didn't I think of that?

Falcon
Community Member
3 years ago

I don't know why, but when I read your comment all I could think about was "I choose you - Happiness!" with Ashes voice from Pokémon. 🤔

Load More Replies...
Daria B
Community Member
3 years ago

This is a very important post, I wish more people were interested about these things. Turns out, the "toxic positivity" ones are harmful mostly because they don't really say anything, those terms are all ambiguous and relative. Not real solutions.

Leodavinci
Community Member
3 years ago

The other side of the chart isn't exactly offering solutions, either.

Load More Replies...
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