Toxic positivity is a phenomenon where in being positive or putting a positive spin on things is taken to the extreme, to the point of a person denying their own or other’s reality and denying an entire spectrum of the human experience of emotion. This may even lead to mismanaging one’s own emotions and ignoring certain psychological needs that may be emerging.
We see this a lot on social media especially, but it’s important to understand this in context. Being positive or being able to look forward can be healthy provided one has the emotional support and resources to process the gamut of emotion to truly be in a space of gratitude and positivity. However, responding to someone who is despairing, grieving or depressed by saying “Come on, try and be positive”, “Look on the bright side”, “Don’t be so negative”, may be insensitive and coming from one’s own lack of knowledge or inability to support the person or discomfort in engaging with deep emotions.