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O is for Optimism

Ever used phrases like 'Everything happens for a reason,' 'I’m sure it will all work out. You’ll be fine,' or 'Happiness is a choice'? At some point in our lives, most of us have uttered these or similar expressions to encourage a dear person facing adversity or to mask our own distress. Life presents obstacles, and how we cope allows us to be labeled as pessimists or optimists. The way you see the world not only shapes your experiences but also influences how you deal with uncertainty and stress. While painting the world in rainbow colors and embracing #positivevibesonly might seem harmless, there's a fine line, and optimism can turn into toxic positivity.

Although I’m not a fan of the term 'toxic,' it can, by definition, harm you, the person you interact with, and the relationship you have. I'm not here to induce shame; I've been using these phrases too. Instead, let’s try our best to be more mindful. Recognising this allows us to create a much-needed safe space for negative emotions and gives the allowance to be vulnerable. Ignoring distress, big or small, and urging others to look at the bright side may not be helpful in the long run. Toxic positivity denies reality, excludes negative emotions, and may lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, even triggering anxiety or depression. So we're better aware of it.

Yes, life has beautiful moments, but it also has tough and dark ones. It can be scary and overwhelming. While it takes time to find healthier coping mechanisms, it’s worth considering the full picture: Light doesn’t exist without Darkness, and vice versa. We don’t have to always be in the 'Light' to experience positive emotions. Neither is the 'Darkness' always and forever dark. Moments are fleeting and ever-changing. Some linger, while others pass quickly. As humans, we can have many emotions, and each has its right to be expressed in ways that help us cope healthily with life’s uncertainties.

Do you want to learn more about optimism?

📚 "Toxic Positivity" from Whitney Goodman. She is a is a psychotherapist with additional training and certifications in working with couples, families and individuals who experience trauma.

✏️ Get my free worksheet about optimism

O is for Optimism
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