Because being positive is the new negative


Every once a while in life we all glare at the face of a perplexing sounding misnomer of sorts, something that is outlined in the language of the grammar as oxymoron, that despite the whimsical premise of its terminology is very real a facet in experience. But it is indeed from the realms of the human awareness that this play of the contrasts has come to be immersive a phenomenon of the real world, in varying degrees of its assertion. Essentially, an oxymoron is any phrase that brings together two words with the exact different meaning, something that is far readily encountered within the dynamics of the existential world given the largely confounding nature of it. Hinging therefore on the endpoints of extremes is this working out of contradictions that has come to concern us today in a rather unexpected manifestation of it.

Living on the edge of the extreme is seldom a healthy norm of human life. Despite the daring nature of us that nudges us to be risk takers and adventure seekers, this particular aspect of living is sought to be more imbibed in understandings of the physical and the mental over the emotional. Here a distinction needs to be drawn between the ambits of the more expansive psychological and the sensitive fore of what concerns the emotions. The emotional spectrum of life is often more difficult to regulate because it tends to be far more volatile a working of what governs the mind in all its totality. Not very surprisingly therefore, it is within the reaches of the emotional that we stumble upon a multitude of such experiences that tend to be dramatic, defining and diversive in both the interpretation and the understanding of them.

As the realm of the human awareness where the good and the bad collide and fuses into each other perhaps simply owing to the ambiguous nature of either, the feel of the emotions transcends a whole universe of oddities. Emerging from the rather conflicting nature of such diversities is a certain emotion that is coveted otherwise as very desirable in the vibes of it. Positivity is something we all yearn to make an acquired part of our lives, so much so that we tend to believe that it is something innate to us. We value positivity and look up to those who seem to radiate the glow of this necessary virtue as someone who refuses to let the dark side of life overpower them and instead stand resilient even deep in the pitfalls of despair. So ingrained is this notion of positivity being an essential element through which life needs to be nurtured and fostered that we lose sight of the surprising negativity lurking behind the gargantuan shadow of this huge asset that positivity feels like. But like every other thing catering to human kind that becomes susceptible to evolve as corrupted a realisation of it, so too positivity fails to escape from this of facade of vulnerability in which it rests, again along the edges of the extreme.

What emerges from this clash of the positivity in too little or too much dwellings of its own is a certain awareness that indeed is an oxymoron across certain aspects of its being. As something as negative as the trait of toxicity attributable to the core essence of positivity, this working of what is known also as toxic positivity might come across as a surprise for the many of us who have forever wished to be able to cultivate this idea of what shapes up the desirable. Equally surprising might be the workings of this needless oxymoron even for those who have slipped into the toxic folds of the positivity they have been holding up all through, as the crossover between these two barely apparent faculties of positive thought is silent, subtle and somewhat ‘sinister’. It might be difficult to realise when someone’s penchant for the good vibes presents instead as an evil that the world would be quite better off without, brought on perhaps by the well intentioned but mindless adherence to the spirit of all things bright and beautiful, even when the concerning reality of it might not possess even a single speck of good. In choosing to overlook all plays of the unfortunate and remain blissfully ignorant of the stark reality, this tendency to repeat and reassert and revow the goodness of all that happens turns out instead a rather unhealthy ideal to live life by, that which comes to encompass therefore the contrasting couple of terms called toxic positivity.

What makes positivity beyond a limit toxic is the undue obsession over it. As something that gives you the power to not succumb to pressing life situations, mastering the art of harbouring the positive feels itself calls for practice and patience. But the problem arises when being infinitely positive is projected as the only life motto, overruling therefore the prospect of the negative emotions to prevail, thereby sidelining them to the extent that the common belief argues that such a spectrum of thought cannot even exist. In furthering therefore the unwanted aptitude to mask a certain set of emotions while wholly centering on the other line of thought as appropriate and humanly, the good will of positivity manifests as toxic, unhealthy and exclusive an understanding of mankind through which he aspires to breach all the conventional trails of thought that persists indeed despite the unrecognition of them, limiting therefore his own faculties of the emotional to a scope that does not do justice to his true identity as a composite individual made up the many parts of him.

But beyond this assertion of what makes an individual human or not in their conscious or unconscious refusal to let a particular awareness of the emotions also govern the alleys of their already complex existence, toxic positivity also does harm in more apparent, evident and appalling ways. As an assertion of the positive outlook that does not help view life in a more positive light but rather demands the display of a stance that is optimistic and hopeful despite the internal mechanism struggling to cope up with this line of thought, the toxic revealing of positivity does more harm than good. It can make someone mourning the death of their loved one feel incompetent when it comes to dealing with their emotions, spurred often by well meaning but brash statements about how they aren’t the only ones having to face the grief of loss. A dose of positivity delivered in rather toxic assertion of how it could always be worse for someone struggling to come to terms with the bad that have befallen then can push the sufferer further into a mess where they don’t have to deal with just the magnitude of their misfortune but also the decimation of their self through what would count as a ridicule of sorts. Toxic positivity though can also take more passive, or even more ‘positive’ form as in such cases that link a residence in the good vibes with strength and desirability, undermining therefore the worth of those who do not cater to this mode of practicality.

Across all such multiple deliverances of it, toxic positivity warrants the denial and invalidation of a more realistic human existence that should be ideally steeped in an amalgamation of the goods and bads or the betters and the worsts, resorting instead to concentrating only upon the workings of the desirable in excessive, obtrusive and invasive magnitude of their range. What toxic assertion of positivity thereby ends up leading many a humans to are the crippling alleys of shame that makes them want to bottle up to evade inappropriate judgement. Equally probable can be the tendency to seek solace instead in isolation, crushing themselves under the weight of their own response to their feelings which they are made to believe are trivial enough to not even warrant interest.

Not surprisingly, with such a working of the complex that renders anyone subject to the unassuming but effective assertion of toxic positivity struggling to deal with their experience of their human behavior, this can also prove disruptive in the maintenance and growth of healthy, fulfilling and trust based mutual relationships throughout their life. In fact so instigating and coercive can be the effects that toxic positivity can exert upon the human mind that this particular expression of what is seen as the wanted mode of life can be likened to the very problematic and unsettling assertion of gaslighting. It’s difficult to tell though whether at the core of this unintentional toxicity that humans in general are subject to by others of their kind, not perhaps realising what they are doing till the grave affectations of their actions plays out with them as well, is something as unconcerning as the ‘feeling’ of apathy or simply a view moulded by the greater world environment that feeds this pervasive, self asserting, lauded idea of being positive no matter what to such extents that this seems to be the only correct way to align one’s own understanding to. In its range of generalized manifestations of what should be and what should govern life in general, positivity very silently and very unawarely grows into that greater evil it should not have ever become. While shielding oneself from being affected by the continuous flow of toxic positivity is at least as impossible a task as preventing oneself from slipping into the ungratifying folds of it, the pursuit should always be to further such virtues of life that stick to the recommended dose of moderation and not overstep the thresholds of what can very well single it out as a vice utterly undesired.