BE NICE

Toxic positivity glorifies suffering

You were not put on this earth to accept suffering.

In Summary
  • If we are not careful, we will drive a lot of people into depression.
  • Sometimes toxic positivity puts pressure on people to pretend to feel good even when they are dying.

Things are getting rough fellow Kenyans. They want to open schools. I have decided I will not worry about things I cannot control. Let them open when they want, we shall go when we are ready. Unless anyone knows how we can make money fall from the sky, please let me know what is needed for that exercise.

Someone posted on Facebook that they were going through a tough time. Things are hard for many. Bills are piling up, many have lost jobs and businesses and few people are honouring payments. While I understand people trying to encourage him, sometimes it is better to shut up.

Writing a bunch of cliches is actually condescending. “Think positive, everything will be ok!” Who promised you that, that you can post it with such confidence when someone’s world is literally falling apart? “You will come out stronger just believe!” Stronger? Or a bit damaged. Another was so bold as to declare that the situation will be resolved with immediate effect and then went on to prescribe some Bible verses.

 

Toxic positivity is a real thing. If we are not careful, we will drive a lot of people into depression.

I remember when we were younger, there was a wave of declare only good things gospel. My mother was not left behind. At one point it had got so bad that you could not even say you had a headache. That would be declaring negativity on yourself and you know that power of life and death lies in the tongue, but your head was still just paining.

That was the reality. No matter how positive you wanted to be, the head hurt. Now if the headache would not go even after the positive affirmations, it meant there was a lesson you had to learn and that lesson would make you a better person.

So you went about looking for irrelevant things to learn and the more far-fetched the better. Maybe it was a tension headache or you needed to drink water, wait, that would have been too logical.

We see it every day. A woman is in an abusive relationship. She would rather apply toxic positivity. There will also be a bunch of people encouraging her. To look for the lesson, to endure the suffering to focus on the end result. No one ever just says, “Hey, your husband is beating you, maybe he is the problem. You could leave and the beatings would stop.”

When you see someone going through a hard time, resist the urge to say absurd things. You do not know if things will be ok. You do not know if the person will be healed, I do not care how many names you invoke in your declaration. You do not know why or the future.

We instead want to romanticise the suffering. With inane phrases and parables. Someone even compared human suffering to the process of diamond formation. Why would you encourage someone to remain in an environment that they could actually get out of?

Let us stop for a minute before we “encourage” people. Really think about the words you want to say. You do not have to say anything. Sometimes toxic positivity puts pressure on people to pretend to feel good even when they are dying.

 

If something is ducked up, my friend it is. It will not make you a better person because you grin through it, it will duck you up. Do something about it if you can. Sometimes that something is just being able to say things the way they are without pressure of adding, “but I am not complaining, at least I am alive!” Complain.

If you know the source of your suffering, do something about it. Report, leave, resign, talk back, speak up, do something. There really is no lesson in someone just deciding to mistreat you, yawa. You were not put on this earth to accept suffering.

Listen, yes, there will be hardships, sometimes the lesson is that you let people walk all over you. Stop it, please.

When you see someone going through a hard time, resist the urge to say absurd things. You do not know if things will be ok. You do not know if the person will be healed, I do not care how many names you invoke in your declaration. You do not know why or the future.

It is ok to say, “Yes my friend, this is rough, I do not know what happens from here but I will stand with you.” Say something that does not guilt a person going through whatever to feel like they should be happy because better things that no one is certain of are coming.

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