REPOST: The Toxic Optimist

So I frequently listen to The Friend Zone podcast, and just like every episode, it gave me shocking insight on a topic that I have never thought about: toxic positivity.

They discussed how a Facebook post led to a comment talking about how positivity can be toxic for people; how the mere notion of giving someone an encouraging word during their dark times could in fact make it worse, rather than better.

It’s been a few weeks since the podcast aired, but it’s been something on my mind since I listened to it. I feel like sometimes I am a suspect in the crime of being toxic with my positivity and always being so optimistic.

I wouldn’t say I’ve had a horrible life; in fact, I’ve been pretty blessed despite some things. I’ve had some trials and troubles, but there’s always been a light at the end of the tunnel, and I try to remember that some are not awarded the luxury of having those lights themselves. Because of that, I tend to see the shred of optimism in any situation.  I try to provide encouragement to my friends and family, and let them know I’m there for them; and I truly want to be there for them.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe I shouldn’t be so optimistic all the time.  I’m wondering if I do more harm then good, always being the optimist and always trying to find the good in situations.  Some situations just suck, and maybe I don’t always need to have something good to outweigh the bad.  It’s a tough line to walk, but I feel like sometimes people want to just tell me to stop being so optimistic all the time.  That most days, being so optimistic jusr really isn’t the option at that time.

I’m not ashamed of my personality, but I also don’t want to be a disservice to the ones I love.  I have felt that personally I need to learn to allow my loved ones that moment to vent, and just be there to listen.  I want them to know that if my optimism doesn’t help, then I apologize and don’t intend it to add onto your pain. My heart wants to give love to people, especially those who I hold close. And most of all, I want to see them happy with life.

It’s a pipe dream to think that everyone’s lives will be perfectly in tact and happy, but I also want them to know that no matter how small, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes the positivity can cultivate something good out of a bad situation.  There is another side to the bad times.


One Comment Add yours

  1. K E Garland says:

    I don’t know about this one Whit. Optimism is always required in every situation, especially in a world/society where there seems to be so much negativity and ill-thinking. I say continue to be your positive self and maybe ask people this question, “What can I do to help you right now?”


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