I’ve been battling with something for years. Unfortunately, I believe it will take a lifetime to confront — it is a trait that does more…

I’ve been battling with something for years. Unfortunately, I believe it will take a lifetime to confront — it is a trait that does more harm than good — it is toxic positivity.

Positivity is something you would identify with me since I am a person who is constantly smiling, happy, and full of positive energy, but allow me to relate my experience with it being toxic.

What is the meaning of toxic positivity? Answering this is complex; let us take a cue from Jesus Christ ways of teaching and use an example: Ted Lasso.

If you have fantastic taste in Tv Shows, you’re probably aware of this series, which is accessible on Apple TV Plus. Ted Lasso, portrayed by Jason Sudeikis, is the ever-charming, always-smiling, well-mannered, witty, and skilful baker.

Ted motivates people and creates an atmosphere that promotes well-being; he guarantees that everyone is okay.

I am all for uplifting notes and thoughts, I mean, I have been blogging about it for the last ten years, and you are in luck if you happen to stumble over my tweets or Instagram stories, plus I despise being around negative people; they are like energy-sucking monsters, aren’t they?

While Ted is a delight to be around, his cheerfulness is a cloak for his struggles, and I can identify with him on many levels.

Some of the issues he faces throughout his life include:

  • Ted is going through a break-up and is still in love with the woman.

  • In addition, trauma from Ted’s father’s suicide when he was a child still haunts him.

  • To make matters worse, Ted is a stranger in a new country with no close friends or family to lean on while learning on the job.

One way to put it is that “toxic positivity” is positivity supplied in the wrong way, in the wrong dose at the wrong time, according to David Kessler, an expert in grief and loss.

Ted’s continuously optimistic, upbeat energy isn’t the sign of a happy guy but rather a coping strategy he may have acquired while avoiding dealing with his prior trauma. I can relate to him since I did the same thing.

As a coping tactic, we train ourselves to be relentlessly positive.

We employ optimism as a defence strategy so that instead of dealing with the heat of our messed-up hells, we lay a veil over it. We hide the truth with a cheerful blanket because we are afraid of it.

It catches up with Ted sooner rather than later, leading him to be unable to complete his tasks and to have severe panic attacks. Dr Sharon, the team psychologist, offers him help, but he is reluctant to accept it. He experiences a brutal panic attack in the middle of a crucial match. Ted is found curled up in Dr Sharon’s dreary office, finally asking for help.

We can fool the brain, but the body remembers, and unresolved trauma often manifests physically.

Ted is terrific at providing support but not so much at asking for it. He has sentiments but never expresses them, something I am all too familiar with.

The danger of toxic positivity is not in what we say or share but in what we don’t share. It is about what we run away from and can’t cope with. What is unshared that must be shared.

Yes, I battle with toxic positivity, and I am fully aware that it harms me more than anybody else in my life. But I’m fighting.

I’m learning only to share things from the bottom of my heart, learning to process my heartaches rather than bury them. I’m learning to make peace with my past, not by avoiding it but by confronting it. I’m learning to expand by only flexing my empathy muscles. I’m learning to be vulnerable and seek support.

I am in a better place now and still learning.

Another part of the series that I like is that Dr Sharon, the team’s psychologist treating Ted, has a therapist who treats her, and this is a reminder that — those who heal us also need healing.

If you’re still reading this, writing is one of the tools I use to face hardships. Of course, sharing this is uncomfortable, but, in the words of Dr Sharon, “the truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.”

Thank you!

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