Sometimes we all feel bad—and we have to just accept that as part of being a human.
Dr. Dean Burrett is the author of the book “The Happy Brain,” and has coined the term “toxic positivity.” He explains it’s “when positivity ignores reality. It’s when people insist on themselves and others being happy, when the situation fully justifies the opposite. There’s an idea that happiness should be our default state, and if we aren’t, happy then something is wrong. It’s nonsense… the brain doesn’t work like that.”
This applies during the pandemic perhaps more than ever before. David Kessler, a grief expert, says the world is going through collective bereavement. Even if you haven’t lost a loved one, we’re grieving our normal lives and sense of safety.
He adds, “One unfortunate by-product of the self-help movement is that we try to squash our negative feelings. We tell ourselves we are not allowed to feel sad because other people have it much worse.” Past scientific research has shown that suppressing our true feelings is not good for our mental health or physical well-being, and that people who have low self-esteem that are forced to repeat positive “affirmations” actually feel worse as a result.
So instead of telling a friend to cheer up after a bad experience, instead you should tell them their bad feelings are valid—empathize and listen, and it might actually help them feel better. (Daily Mail)