Gratitude Vs. Toxic Positivity | Evelina Hovich | Life Coaching

Life is a beautiful experience.

However, no matter how charmed your life may be, setbacks are inevitable.

This can especially be true in romantic and interpersonal relationships – and as a dating and relationship coach, I’ve spoken to my share of people who’ve experienced setbacks.

One of the tools I use in my practice is gratitude, which can be a powerful way to help you reframe the various setbacks you may experience.

But there’s a difference between gratitude and toxic positivity.

One can help you work toward creating the life of your dreams, and the other will actually leave you feeling even more stuck.

Let’s take a closer look.

Dealing With Adversity

When we inevitably face adversity – and we will, nobody is immune to it – there are many ways to approach it.

In some ways, it can feel like life is a constant dance with adversity.

No sooner do you deal with one problem than you have another two that show up.

Knowing that adversity is an ever present doesn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with either.

Which is why gratitude is such a powerful practice.

To boil it down to its simplest definition, gratitude is the practice of counting your blessings.

By spending time recognizing the positive things in your life and expressing gratitude for them, you can cultivate a healthier outlook on life.

However, this practice is sometimes misrepresented.

What Is Toxic Positivity?

Toxic positivity is the idea that in order to express gratitude, you must put a positive spin on every experience you have, even the ones that are deeply traumatic.

This is not what gratitude is.

And while one can find positives and negatives in every experience, it’s not always healthy to do so.

Feeling emotions like sadness, anger, frustration, and fear are normal parts of the human experience.

They’re both healthy to express and necessary.

Gratitude doesn’t stop you from expressing them, but toxic positivity does.

But how does this affect you?

The Main Difference Between Gratitude Vs Toxic Positivity | Evelina Hovich | Life Coaching

The Main Difference Between Gratitude Vs Toxic Positivity

In truth, the biggest difference between these two is emotional honesty.

Gratitude gives you the space to appreciate the positives in your life, but it doesn’t stop you from feeling all the emotions you might feel that are attached to adversity.

If you find you’re constantly fighting with your partner, for example, gratitude can help you stay focused on all the things you love about them.

Focusing on that love can help keep you grounded as you work through the issues the two of you are facing.

But it doesn’t stop you from actually addressing the unpleasant feelings you’re feeling.

It holds you in a place of appreciation, but it doesn’t blind you to the reality that there’s a problem you need to address.

Toxic positivity, on the other hand, tells you that “positive vibes only” is the most important virtue.

When you approach a situation that leaves you clearly displeased, toxic positivity leaves you stuck.

Toxic positivity may manifest itself in statements like:

  • It was meant to be!
  • Look on the bright side!
  • At least you don’t (insert worse thing here)!
  • Be grateful for what you have, others have it worse!

But do you know what the real kicker is?

Each of those statements can still be true.

But by hyper focusing on them, you end up losing touch with the possibility of improving your life.

After all, learning how to forgive your partner can only happen if your life philosophy allows you to acknowledge when harm was done – intentionally or not – and heal from it.

Sure, your partner may check most of the boxes of what you’re looking for in a relationship, but if there are things that bother you about your relationship, toxic positivity can hold you back from actually expressing those feelings.

This robs your partner of the opportunity to actually be the person you want them to be.

Your job may provide you with a good living, but if you’re hoping to manifest wealth and abundance in a way that feels freer and is healthier for your lifestyle, toxic positivity tells you to appreciate your job and stay there because others have it worse.

This isn’t a place from which you can grow.

Oddly enough, toxic positivity can have its roots in the expectations others have of you as well.

It can take the form of guilt that you don’t fully appreciate the life your parents or the other influential figures in your life pursued you to follows.

But sometimes, it can be difficult to understand what the difference is between a practice of gratitude and a practice of toxic positivity.

Here’s how to tell.

1. Look At How You Respond To Your Feelings

When feelings come up, we often have a knee-jerk reaction to them.

That reaction is based on the experiences we’ve had in the past, but they’re rarely helpful.

If your immediate reaction to feeling frustration, sadness, anger, fear, or other unpleasant emotions is to try and suppress them, you might be practicing toxic positivity.

Instead, it can be helpful to sit with them and try to understand their source.

Journaling and meditation can be useful here.

2. Set Boundaries With Those Around You

As we talked about before, feeling the need for toxic positivity can often come from the expectations others have about us.

If you have people in your life who make you feel guilty for expressing the emotions you need to express, setting healthy boundaries with them is an important way to take the control back.

In some cases, those boundaries may just be internal, as you understand there are certain things you just can’t talk about with them.

3. Create Time To Understand And Validate Your Emotions

Generally speaking, we don’t like to feel angry, scared, frustrated, or sad.

But these feelings are as valid as any other.

Repressing them doesn’t help, just like ignoring the check engine light on your car doesn’t help.

You can pretend it’s not there, but it is – and the only way to take care of it is to address it.

Spend time with your unpleasant feelings.

Understanding what their root is, and you can understand how to move past them.

Book Your Appointment With Evelina Hovich Today

Do you struggle with toxic positivity?

Is it difficult for you to delve into the unpleasant aspects of your feelings?

If so, I can help.

I’m Evelina Hovich, a manifestation life coach in Toronto, Canada, and I want to help you manifest the life of your dreams.

Book your appointment with me today, and let’s get started.