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Ep. 129 Toxic Positivity

by Claudine Sweeney
May 18th 2022
Positivity is a good thing. Right? Absolutely! When times get challenging, we try to focus on the positive to help get us through them. It definitely has it's proper time and place. But, maybe you've ... More
This is episode 1 29 toxic positivity. You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So, tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners. I've got a couple of questions to start us off. Have you ever felt ashamed of negative feelings? Do you make light of loss, sadness and disappointment both in yourself and in others? Do you hide your true feelings? Do you ignore overwhelming emotions if you do, You could be struggling with toxic positivity which is kind of ironic, right?

It's it's so funny because we think of positivity as something to be really good and then toxic is really bad. And so here we are today, talking about toxic positivity, it's like an oxymoron. Yeah, that's what it is. Yeah, that's a teacher in you. I was like ironic. I don't think it's irony actually. It's an oxymoron that could be ironic to But toxic positivity is the good vibes only. It's this forced false positivity, right? And it's all around us. In fact, I feel like we live in a toxic positivity society. It's like we say a lot of these things within each other within our own relationships and friendships and it's trying to be positive all the time but not feeling our emotions not dealing with our true emotions. And that can create a lot of problems. So that's why we're talking about it today. If you believe you are a positive person as I do. Yeah, definitely take Notes on this one because this was me for sure. And you hit the nail on the head claudine. It's when we cross from just being positive too to not allowing ourselves to feel what we're really feeling, right to feel all the feels.

And I do. That's so funny because I have things all over my house, coffee mugs and I tell the kids, can we all just be happy, Right? No, that's not realistic mom. But yeah, this is really important because positivity, if not handled correctly can turn toxic and it's really hurtful and harmful and our well being as well as our relationships well. And that's that's why it's important to address because our emotional and physical well being will suffer. Um, when we suffer from toxic positivity, we can be over focusing on positive attitude and that can backfire. Right? And most importantly, it's a lack of authenticity with others. It really damages our relationships. We don't show up as we really are. We show up maybe in a sanitized version of ourselves, right? A happy, healthy version of ourselves. And I feel like I did that for many years at church.

You know, I thought a good christian woman, she is joyful all the time. Right? She always smiles and serves and gives and it doesn't matter how you feel, right, right, right? Don't let that be seen. Exactly. And so I'll never forget this was a long, long time ago, but I have women just get snapped at me basically and she's like, you're like superwoman, you're just always happy and always right, and and I was like, oh, that is so not who I am. So that was a huge turning point for me. I was like, yeah, I'm doing something wrong here because that's not who I am and that's not how I want to come across, but that was definitely how it's coming across, but I think in the christian world as women, we can definitely stuff those feelings aside and just be always smiling in this toxic positivity, I must be positive all the time and it's not beneficial to us in the long term. Yeah. You know, sometimes I always wonder, I wonder, I wonder, you know the story of mary and Martha, what was going on in mary's life, where she knew she needed to be at jesus's feet rather than doing all the things right, preparing hosting, doing all that cleaning prepping all the things we do as women.

Um, but this is really, this has really been transformative for me, I remember a personal story a while back where I was really struggling in my marriage and just in life, my own well being and I just felt like I was at a low and going to church still going to church. And I it was, I got so much anxiety as we were showing up and I realized that I didn't want to pretend. So there was this conflict where I felt like I do not feel like I can give energy to give to anybody smile, I can't put on the happy face today and pretend. And I just, I was honest with my husband, I said, I don't want to be here right now. I don't want anyone to ask me, How are you doing? Because then I'm gonna have to lie. And then, or you could tell the truth. Exactly. That's very hard to do. And I didn't want to tell the truth because I was already so emotional and so exhausted from being emotional that I don't want to keep talking about it or I don't want to keep thinking about, I just want to ignore it and pretend, you know, make it go away pretending.

Um, but anyways, I thought, wow, it was just so profound, profound. And eye opening for me because I thought that's what we do. That's what we do as women, we pretend all the time. And then, as you said, we're not authentic. We're not being true to ourselves. And when we're denying and ignoring and suppressing it causes a lot of issues down the road. Um, not even just in our relationships and our own well being, but also contributes to a lot of diseases and um, you know, physical ailments as we age if we keep doing this because many of us have the habit of just pushing, pushing through. Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the things that helped me the most, this isn't even one of our practical, this is a freebie, but one of the things that helped me most is realizing that life is 50 50. You know, when I decided to learn to live like that, that I didn't have to think that everything was perfect and good and happy and joyful all the time. Like life is 50 50. It's going to be filled with happy times and it's going to be filled with sad times.

It's going to be filled with stressful times and it's going to be filled with times of peace for some reason that took the pressure off me to be happy all the time and I just accepted like, oh, life is 50 50 and there's nothing wrong with me or my life or my faith or anything else. If I'm not happy 100% of the time and learning to live like this has totally changed my whole life. I mean just the way I show up with people, the way I give the way I just go through the day, it's much more peaceful and truth be told, I'm probably living at 80 20 maybe even 90 10. But the attitude of life is 50 just took all the pressure off. That's a realistic Yeah, it really is When you think about it, you know, when we think we have to be happy all the time. And even as moms who still have Children at home, I want them to be happy all the time because if they're happy, then I'm happy. And if my husband's happy, then I'm happy and then it's a comfortable environment year round.

This is peace. But it's very it's reliant on external factors which just will leave you discouraged, right all the time because it's not realistic. And I realized for myself that my positivity because I always thought half glass full, kind of a person, rose colored glasses, kind of a person. And that's how I love to live my life. But I realized after doing a lot of this work that it was my coping method of choice. So humor, positivity, keeping light of things, suppressing what I was really feeling and going through and then it catches up with you. You can't sustain that forever. It catches up with you as more life stresses happen because not learning how to properly deal with day to day stress or even some bigger, you know, stresses in life e going through a pandemic and virtual school and all that stuff that I still need to process. Many of us still need to process.

But positivity turning toxic, it can be our method of coping right? And trying to deny these things and as you were sharing claudine, we tend to believe negative emotions are bad. I don't know where we got that. A lot of it could be upbringing because that's kind of how we were taught in a sense. It's like, well don't be angry or especially as christians, you know, we can take that scripture out of context. Uh you know, in your anger don't sin and we think, oh angry is bad, you know, being angry is bad. All the emotions are God given. They're part of the human experience, all of them. And so to deny allowing ourselves to feel any emotion is denying our humanity really in our humanness. And so having Like changing that belief that really was transformative for me, as you said the 50, 50 you know, in life all emotions are God given. There's no bad emotion, it's uncomfortable, I don't want to feel it, but there's a different way to handle it that will serve me better than just suppressing it and trying not to feel those things and just being positive well, and I really like Ecclesiastes 7 14.

This It goes to what you're talking about. It says when times are good, be happy, but when times are bad, here's something to think about God has made bad times. He has also made good times and I did not understand that for so long. And so I felt like any time something was negative or bad, it was just something was wrong with me and it's so freeing. Or even when we look at it, we think there's something wrong with that person, right? And we want to fix the other person, which you kind of said so, well, let's talk about how to fix it. Yeah, we do. We want to fix it, right? Well, let's talk share a few practical with our listeners that have helped us and others to rise above this toxic positivity. So the first one I've already kind of said, Which was except that life is 5050 when you really accept this and come from that perspective, it changes your outlook and it's again, so helpful for me and the scripture we just read in Ecclesiastes 7 14, Life is 50 50. God has made both good times and bad times.

It's just part of life here until we're on the other side and we're in heaven. That's this is life here in our fallen world. And the second practical is validate your own or others emotions and experiences. So acknowledging and accepting what you're feeling in the moment is really crucial, you know? So it allows us not to cross over into toxic positivity, but it allows us to validate where we are now or even others I think about with kids, right? If my my son, he's a lot more vocal about I'm just having a bad day mom and I'll tell him it's okay, it's okay. Sometimes we have bad days rather than trying to fix it and oh, but but what about this? And this was so, you know, you like that and trying to let's focus on all the positive of your day. And because if I said those things that would not validate his experience and his emotions and it would teach him the message that just focus on the good, focus on the positive when there's a time and a place, right?

We don't want to dwell on the negative, but we do want to acknowledge and accept the negative as well as just this is part of life. Sometimes we have a bad day. I hope let's hope and pray that tomorrow is a better day. I love that. I mean, be willing to sit and feel your negative emotions. That's right. It's validating to ourselves and others. And don't find yourself saying these things, these are I'm telling you this isn't a practical but don't say these things. Don't say, don't worry, be happy. It could be worse. I don't think about it or you should be grateful. Look at all that you have. That was something that was said to me at my, one of my darkest times and that didn't help it actually created more pain within me. But because then you felt shame. I felt shame. Do you have a lot to be, does that mean I'm not great friends and if I'm feeling this way. And yeah, and I was willing at the time to sit and feel my negative emotions. I just shared it with the wrong person. Um But that's a great practical. Another one is write down all the facts of a difficult situation, right?

Because toxic positivity is usually we apply it usually to a difficult situation, right? And we're trying to force this positivity when it's not there, but write down all the facts and then write down what do you think about it? What what are your thoughts about this fact? And then how do you feel about it? How do you feel when you write all those things down? This will really help you gain awareness into what's really going on, not only in your mind but in your heart. So essentially journaling. Yeah, we're big, big yeah, we're big advocate Urz Heer of journaling and writing. That's a writing. We should give away free pens. We'll have to look into that Some rise up and shine pens. Yes. Yes. And # four, our final one is to nurture more moments of joy in your life. So those are things that you enjoy the simple pleasures of life. So that could be curling up on the couch and a warm fuzzy blanket with some coffee or tea that could be watching Coco scratch her ears and make music with her collar, that could be sitting outside in the sunshine or going on a nice walk or a hike.

I love hikes going out in nature, especially in the mountains. Really helps clear my mind. Yeah, those are good actually and for me just sometimes sitting with a good cup of tea, I have my favorite tea that I just ordered. 100 tea bags from. I really like it but I love it. In the afternoon when I've had a long day, I make myself a cup of tea and I just sit on the couch for a few minutes quietly. It doesn't have to be anything big but just finding ways to nurture those joyful moments if the day is particularly blue, I'll Just spend an extra minute or two breathing deeply and gazing at it and just giving thanks for the Blue day or a bird. I had a little bird a couple of weeks ago. It had a green little chest. It was so cute, kind of like lime green and it was playing in our water fountain and I just sat there and watched him. I was like, I'm just going to watch this little bird. It made me so happy. I don't know why, but it did. But just take those moments and just reflect on that because even through the hardest times we can find a couple moments of joy that will help you know, help whatever difficulties were going through without trying to push this false positivity.

But there are truly good moments every single day. So sometimes we have to look a little harder to find them. Yes. You know, one of my favorite things to do is with the kids when they come home from school, I'll give them like a 20 minute break, 30 minute break before we start on chores and homework. And so what we've been doing, I'd say the last four months is when they come home, I'll make another cup of coffee, my second cup of coffee of the day and we'll sit on the couch and we'll watch a tv show like we'll watch a whole series together. So each day we don't do it every day, but you know, we'll watch one episode and that's their little break time and for a while we were watching Andy Griffith, so I'd have my second cup of coffee and it was just a time where I didn't have to go away from the kids. I had them. It was something we were doing together and it was, it was a high, it was one of the highs of the day. Well, that's great. I hope these practical have been helpful as life coaches Ashley and I can help if you're in a difficult situation. We can help you find healthy strategies to deal with it if you're stuck in a rut or feeling like you're trying to force positivity when it isn't there we are here, please visit mind over chaos dot com to schedule a free call with Ashley or Claudine Sweeney dot com.

To schedule a free call with Claudine. We are here to help you rise up and shine and live your best life now. Until next time. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rice. I've been shined podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode. And while you're at it share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life

Ep. 129 Toxic Positivity
Ep. 129 Toxic Positivity
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