I heard a new term recently, that has been making the rounds, ‘Toxic Positivity’. Yip, you read that right. A certain kind of positivity is now regarded as toxic.
And that positivity is the light at the end of the tunnel, to see the silver lining, looking at the brighter side of life. That kind of positivity going forward is to be called toxic positivity. So basically telling someone to find the good in a bad situation is now regarded as toxic behaviour.
So, for all the people out there, who like me was utterly shocked to hear this. Apparently the right thing to do is to sympathize with a person who is struggling with a difficult situation. And leave it at that. To acknowledge the difficulties and to give them time and distance to process what they are going through…
Now I am not an expert and please don’t get me wrong. Because I do realise that everyone going through a tough time does need space and time to process and heal. But what I want to know is where do you draw the line? And at what point does a person slip from taking time to process, to it becoming a serious mental health issue. And take a good look around. Because something is wrong as every other person out there is suffering with some kind of mental health issue.
Could the problem be that we have we come to a point where we are saying, ‘Shame, you are going through a hard time.’ . And leave it at that and simply walk away. And we do this because we are being made to believe anything else said to a suffering person is toxic?
People, we cannot be so cold, empty and lacking empathy. People need people. Because let’s face it, no-one out there can face tough situations on their own. We all need someone to speak to, someone to give us the truth and someone who can help us find a way out when we can’t see a way. And in some cases, even a total stranger can say something that can resonate with us.
When I think back to my toughest moment, it was random people around me who pulled me out. Actually, it was a total random stranger I met siting at a counter that made the biggest impact on my life… (Read Becoming Me on my Blog, if you want to know that story.)
But getting out of my depressed state was done, not by treading on eggshells around me but by giving me the cold hard truth. A true friend will never allow someone to wallow in self pity, but to make them look at their situation from a different light, help them shake it off and help them to move on. How can this be toxic is beyond me.
I shudder to think what would have happened to me if my random stranger decided that I needed time to heal and figure things out on my own. And decided to say it’s ok to be sad and just left it at that…
I’m not comfortable in agreeing that telling someone there is hope when they are in a hopeless situation is wrong. Or that telling them that they will come through it, or that it is going to be ok is toxic behaviour. Everything within me goes against this type of thinking.
I cannot wrap my mind around this, especially that the right and new way to handle a person is to acknowledge their situation and to just leave them without showing any compassion at all. To simply walk away because it’s too soon or not our business or problem to deal with.
Maybe some will argue, that people end up offering unsolicited advice or that some are disingenuous. But it still does not mean that their behaviour is toxic. It’s the humanly thing to do. It’s the right thing to do, to leave someone with hope, leaving someone with a feeling of comfort that they are not alone and that they will eventually pull through.
We need to be mindful of what we are allowed to believe, and what can easily lead us astray. What this is, is the world trying to convince us that good things are evil. It’s trying to convince us that it is ok to be in depressed situation because we are taking time to heal. And more importantly it’s telling us to walk away from hurting people.
It’s telling those people we don’t care enough about you to offer any help.If ever I was reminded of words of a song that rings true it’s these below…
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
The world is in need of love, comfort, joy and hope right now. And that’s why Christ was sent, to bring us just that. Don’t let the world lead you astray, by making you believe that your positive outlook is toxic or that you need time to heal when God has already won that battle.
Find rest, peace, comfort and joy in Him today, all is going to be well…