Toxic Positivity is a thing, and you need to avoid it.

Adesua Ayomaria
4 min readJan 14, 2023
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I do not want to sound like the next motivational speaker. You already have many competing for your already-strained attention. You know, folks bombarding you with all the buzzwords and stress tenses to make you join a subscriber list or buy a newly formatted book on Amazon.

I also do not want this to be a part of me jumping on a topic and trying hard to sound intelligent off it. Neither do I want this to read Gen-Z-like, and I do not mean this as a form of drag, but you know, “Toxic Positivity”, it sounds like something straight out of the “Freedom of expression” and “living my best life” playbook.

It sounds like a word in the same league as “ministerial purr” and others in that line. Do you get it now? So let’s move on without wasting more “lines”. Toxic positivity is quite a real thing, and it is something you should avoid as the year kicks on. I will explain.

It is already half of the first month of the year, and I hope you still remember how you started the year with so much “Fire in your belly”? Do you remember how many resolutions you wrote and how you swore you were done with all the shenanigans this new year?

Calm down; I am not trying to castigate you or assume some moral high ground; I am also speaking to myself. One of the words I told myself this year was that I would be more vocal about my thoughts and write anything that came to my head. I planned to stop reviewing and re-editing so much in my head before actually penning anything down. Nobody is going to beat me.

Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

Toxic positivity is a real thing. You could outline all of these plans for the year, and they all add up to such a big thing that they become so scary? I am not the only one feeling this way right?

It is not as if the year is waiting for anyone. I was talking to my person last evening, and the discussion shifted to how the month was running so slowly. On the other hand, I felt the year is starting to run by again. Or maybe that is how “Sapa” does some reverse psychology to your thinking, as you are already looking forward to the next paycheck.

Well, those resolutions have been written, but the central idea in your head is that you still have time. It is January, and in a year with 11 months remaining, what is the worst that could happen? We all started the year with the vibe of changing on bad habits, leaving unproductive relationships, and just becoming better all around.

As the year wears on, you might find yourself sinking into the routine and constantly pushing back on your goals while actively vocalizing what you want, how you want to do it, and all the benefits you would get from your moves. You are even the most vocal among your peers.

This quote sounds familiar right? It is what toxic positivity looks like. I am no specialist in life, but you cannot be a perpetual “Sharer” or an “analyst” while running away from what needs to get done. I know this, because I have experienced it.

The year has started in full swing, and things are beginning to get serious; the corporate sector is already gearing up to have a positive first-quarter report, new policies are springing up in the public sector, and everyone is expected to get onboard. The spirit of the holiday is wearing off, and it is time to get into the whole spirit of work.

And as important as it is to embrace positivity, it is vital to stay realistic. It is the first hack to beating “Toxic positivity”. Life can be very dynamic; and honestly, you are not expected to coast on a high level every day. It is impossible. Hence, being more self-aware about where you are and where you are going is crucial.

A bit of realism and even pessimism at the right time would not hurt. It would even help if you had the right balance of everything to keep pushing. You should stop oversharing with others, especially with folks who do not share the same dreams. I think this gradually takes the sting out of your plans, as you become just a “Talker” at the end of the day.

Who says your dreams are not valid? Who says they are too big? All you need to do is to have a clear picture in mind, break your plans into small, achievable steps and be consistent about crossing off these steps. Before you know it, you are looking at the “Full Picture” in no time.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Above all, pray hard and hold steadfastly to anything you believe. In a world designed to test you at every end, you will need it. Just be confident; you have got this. Hold on to your dreams. They’re valid.