Kendra Cherry (Toxic Positivity)

Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. It’s a “good vibes only” approach to life. And while there are benefits to being an optimist and engaging in positive thinking, toxic positivity instead rejects difficult emotions in favor of a cheerful, often falsely positive, facade.
We all know that having a positive outlook on life is good for your mental well-being. The problem is that life isn’t always positive. We all deal with painful emotions and experiences. Those emotions, while often unpleasant, are important and need to be felt and dealt with openly and honestly.
Toxic positivity takes positive thinking to an overgeneralized extreme. This attitude doesn’t just stress the importance of optimism, it minimizes and denies any trace of human emotions that aren’t strictly happy or positive.

2 thoughts on “Kendra Cherry (Toxic Positivity)

  1. shinichi Post author

    What Is Toxic Positivity?

    by Kendra Cherry

    https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-positivity-5093958

    Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. It’s a “good vibes only” approach to life. And while there are benefits to being an optimist and engaging in positive thinking, toxic positivity instead rejects difficult emotions in favor of a cheerful, often falsely positive, facade.

    We all know that having a positive outlook on life is good for your mental well-being. The problem is that life isn't always positive. We all deal with painful emotions and experiences. Those emotions, while often unpleasant, are important and need to be felt and dealt with openly and honestly.

    Toxic positivity takes positive thinking to an overgeneralized extreme. This attitude doesn’t just stress the importance of optimism, it minimizes and denies any trace of human emotions that aren’t strictly happy or positive.

    Forms of Toxic Positivity

    Toxic positivity can take a wide variety of forms. Some examples you may have encountered in your own life:

    • When something bad happens, such as losing your job, people tell you to “just stay positive” or “look on the bright side.” While such comments are often meant to be sympathetic, they can also be a way of shutting down anything you might want to say about what you are experiencing.
    • After experiencing some type of loss, people tell you that “everything happens for a reason.” While people often make such statements because they believe they are comforting, it is also a way of avoiding someone else’s pain. 
    • When you express disappointment or sadness, someone tells you that “happiness is a choice.” This suggests that if you are feeling negative emotions, then it’s your own fault for not “choosing” to be happy.

    Such statements are often well-intentioned—people just don't know what else to say and don't know how to be empathetic. Still, it is important to recognize that these responses can be harmful.

    At their best, such statements come off as trite platitudes that let you off the hook so you don’t have to deal with other people’s feelings. At their worst, these comments end up shaming and blaming people who are often dealing with incredibly difficult situations.

    Toxic positivity denies people the authentic support that they need to cope with what they are facing.

    Why It’s Harmful

    Toxic positivity can actually harm people who are going through difficult times. Rather than being able to share genuine human emotions and gain unconditional support, people find their feelings dismissed, ignored, or outright invalidated.

    • It’s shaming: When someone is suffering, they need to know that their emotions are valid, but that they can find relief and love in their friends and family. Toxic positivity tells people that the emotions they are feeling are unacceptable. 
    • It causes guilt: It sends a message that if you aren’t finding a way to feel positive, even in the face of tragedy, that you are doing something wrong.
    • It avoids authentic human emotion: Toxic positivity functions as an avoidance mechanism. When other people engage in this type of behavior, it allows them to sidestep emotional situations that might make them feel uncomfortable. But sometimes we turn these same ideas on ourselves, internalizing these toxic ideas. When we feel difficult emotions, we then discount, dismiss, and deny them.
    • It prevents growth: It allows us to avoid feeling things that might be painful, but it also denies us the ability to face challenging feelings that can ultimately lead to growth and deeper insight.

    The “positive vibes only” mantra can be particularly grating during times of intense personal distress. When people are coping with situations such as financial troubles, job loss, illness, or the loss of a loved one, being told that they need to look on the bright side can seem downright cruel.

    It is possible to be optimistic in the face of difficult experiences and challenges. But people going through trauma don’t need to be told to stay positive or feel that they are being judged for not maintaining a sunny outlook.

    Signs

    Toxic positivity can often be subtle, but by learning to recognize the signs can help you better identify this type of behavior. Some signs include:

    • Brushing off problems rather than facing them
    • Feeling guilty about being sad, angry, or disappointed
    • Hiding your true feelings behind feel-good quotes that seem more socially acceptable
    • Hiding or disguising how you really feel
    • Minimizing other people's feelings because they make you uncomfortable
    • Shaming other people when they don't have a positive attitude
    • Trying to be stoic or "get over" painful emotions

    How to Avoid Toxic Positivity

    If you’ve been affected by toxic positivity—or if you recognize this kind of behavior in yourself— there are things that you can do to develop a healthier, more supportive approach. Some ideas include:

    • Manage your negative emotions, but don’t deny them. Negative emotions can cause stress when unchecked, but they can also provide important information that can lead to beneficial changes in your life.
    • Be realistic about what you should feel. When you are facing a stressful situation, it’s normal to feel stressed, worried, or even fearful. Don’t expect too much from yourself. Focus on self-care and taking steps that can help improve your situation.
    • It’s okay to feel more than one thing. If you are facing a challenge, it’s possible to feel nervous about the future and also hopeful that you will succeed. Your emotions are as complex as the situation itself. 
    • Focus on listening to others and showing support. When someone expresses a difficult emotion, don’t shut them down with toxic platitudes. Instead, let them know that what they are feeling is normal and that you are there to listen. 
    • Notice how you feel. Following “positive” social media accounts can sometimes serve as a source of inspiration, but pay attention to how you feel after you view and interact with such content. If you are left with a sense of shame or guilt after seeing “uplifting” posts, it might be due to toxic positivity. In such cases, consider limiting your social media consumption.
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  2. shinichi Post author

    “Toxic Positivity(有害なポジティブさ)”とは? 常に前向きじゃなくていい、ファッションも人に寄り添うものに

    by 丸山瑠璃

    https://www.wwdjapan.com/articles/1150447

     “トキシック・ポジティビティ(Toxic Positivity)”という言葉を知っているだろうか。コロナ禍で先が見えない状況を反映して6月ごろから英語メディアを中心に見かけることが多くなった。日本語にすれば“有害なポジティブさ”で、米フロリダ州フォート・ローダーデール拠点のセラピストグループ、ザ・サイコロジー・グループ(THE PSYCHOLOGY GROUP)は「どんな状況下においても幸せで楽観的な状態でいることを過度かつ無益に一般化しすぎること。その結果純粋な感情を否定、矮小化、無効化すること」と定義している。

     同グループは同時に、怒りや悲しみなどネガティブな感情を抑圧し、言葉にしたり表情に出さないことで後に不安やうつ、身体的不調につながる可能性があることを警告している。例えば、落ち込んでいる時に無理やりポジティブに振る舞ったり、元気でないことに罪悪感を覚えてまた落ち込んだりと、元気な状態がデフォルトでなければならないと過度に断定してしまうと逆効果を生むというのである。

     また落ち込んでいる人に対して「元気出して!なんとかなるよ」「そのくらいで済んでよかった」「良いこともあるよ」などと励ますことも純粋な感情から目を逸らせるもので“トキシック・ポジティビティ”になり得るという。ザ・サイコロジー・グループはそのような言葉ではなく落ち込んでいる人を受け入れ、共感し、話を聞くことが大切だと説く。

     なぜ突然この言葉を紹介したかといえば、まず今年は常に元気でいること、そして常に大丈夫な状態であることがいかに難しいかを各々味わった年であるからだ。ファッション業界でいえば、国内の大手アパレル5社だけで3100店舗以上を閉店する見込みだ。そして閉店には人員解雇が伴う。そのような状況で、常に前向きで元気でいることははっきり言って無理だ。

     しかしながら、現実世界では“前向きであること・元気であること”が当然で推奨されるべきこととして扱われる。「頑張って」は元気がない人にとりあえずかける常套句であるし、自粛期間中には外に出られない分、新たなスキルを身につけたり、苦しい状況でも笑顔をたやさず頑張ることがもてはやされた。もちろんポジティブでいられるときにポジティブでいることは悪いことではない。ただ、ポジティブでいられないときの感情も認め、一般化する必要がある。ネガティブな日があるのは当然なこと。自分自身、また他の人に対しても無益にプレッシャーを与えていないか今一度確かめるべきだ。

    ファッションができるアプローチとは

     ファッションといえば、人に元気を与えるものと認識されてきた。実際に新しい服やメイクに身を包むことで得られる高揚感は多くの人が経験したことがあるだろう。ただ、元気を与えるアプローチは独りよがりな“元気の押し売り”ではなく人の感情に寄り添い、安らぎや癒しをを与えるアプローチのほうが今は適切かもしれない。コロナ禍により予定より数カ月遅れてオープンしたミヤシタパーク近くのビルボード広告にソフ(SOPH.)が掲げた「まいったな2020」のコピーは多くの反響を呼んだが、これも共感を得たからだろう。

     「ファッションは時代を反映する」とはよく言われたものだが21年春夏シーズンは、華やかさや派手さで元気を与えるというものよりも、圧倒的に安らぎムードが席巻していた。ベージュや白など優しい色使い、ゆったりとしたシルエットや着心地の良い素材が多く登場し、「WWDジャパン」の21年春夏のトレンドブックの副題も“家でも外でも心地よさをまとう”になっている。時代の空気に敏感なデザイナーたちが提案したのは、ネガティブな日も人を優しく包み、無理なく寄り添うファッションだ。

     社会の規範に則れば人々にポジティブでいることを呼びかけるのは企業として当然のようなことのように思われる。もちろんブランドや企業によってはそうしたアプローチを求める顧客もいるかもしれない。しかし今は、いやこれからも、自分たちの顧客は何を求めているのか常に追求し、それに寄り添うアプローチをすべきだ。またファッション業界がもし自らに「常にポジティブなメッセージを発信しなければいけない、そのためには自らも常にポジティブでなければならない」という考えを課しているなら、その考えから自らを解放する必要がある。

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