Toxic Positivity

5 min read

Is our life just about ticking the right boxes? Are we doing it right?

Picture this: you are a 20 something who has just graduated from college, about to step into the adult world, you feel free as bird, full of enthusiasm, pumped with passion, ambition in your eyes, and so many goals to achieve. You start working a 9 – 5 job. Several months pass by and your routine hasn’t changed much – waking up, making your meals, going to the office, maybe grab a drink or two and return home. At first you are content with what you are doing and the life you are leading. Now, it’s a lazy Sunday evening – you are relaxing in your PJ’s, vibing by yourself, scrolling through social media, and content in the moment, that’s when you come across an interesting, or rather thought-provoking post. This post, has a rather aesthetic appeal – perfect font, perfect language, a trustworthy author – everything which makes you believe that this post is a goldmine of knowledge. “The mistake every person in their mid-20’s makes, how to avoid it “says the first line, you are drawn towards it, as you read further you find yourself falling into a hole, deeper and deeper with every word you read. You are taken aback – every statement, every point listed there, things stated to be a mistake- are a reflection of you!  You jump out of your couch, suddenly nothing makes sense – you spend the whole night thinking to yourself – “Am I doing things, right?”, “I will never be enough “, “My life’s a mess”, “I want more from my life” and more such self-accessing thoughts. A thick cloud of contemplation, guilt and self-doubt surrounds you, you go from being a chirpy, enthusiastic person to a bawling, and self-doubting young adult. Weeks pass by and you read further into that post, which makes way to more such posts. Post after post, you read, read and re-read till this long chain leads you to a series of books- self-help, and conditioning books. You bring changes to your lifestyle – sleeping early, less social interaction, giving more time to yourself, going by the rules.  Everything seems to fall into place – you think you are advancing into a good life.

Years pass by, you are following everything that you read, you have every minute of every day planned and everything scheduled. Life is running smoothly. Suddenly, your dream wagon seems to hit a brake – you are overworked, your body can’t seem to handle all the pressure you are putting it through. Looking around, you see that your friends, who according to you put far less efforts or who are doing exactly the opposite of what all these years of reading a certain genre of books has taught you, are still thriving. They have a social life, they have good careers, everything just a little more or less than you, but most importantly- they are at peace with it. Now, you look back – you spent most of your early 20’s worrying about ticking the right boxes, doing everything right, and not on what was rather important – living it.

Different things work for different people, we have our limitations, our strengths, our weaknesses, different potential, lifestyle, and mindset. What works for one person may or may not work for the other, but, in today’s hustle culture, we tend to forget this basic difference. Our brain perceives things and conditions our mindset with whatever we feed to it. In today’s world, our motive has just become more about doing everything by the books, and that this is the only way to be. We have lost touch with our real selves in the process. The main culprits in this regard are the various sources which disguise themselves as self-help and success manuals but in reality, just confuse us and fill in self-doubt. Although many movies, series, books, stories depict it clearly – spontaneity, and living in the moment seems to be a thing of the past.  

The only possible solution to this is – differentiating real help from mere trade, consciousness about pushing to the extremes, and knowing what one needs. Toxic positivity comes to play here, and so does emotional manipulation. Self-help has become an industry now, which is making more profits by each passing day. A report by kisbp suggests that in 2017, the growth rate of the industry was 5.6% which is comparatively higher than most of the other industries. As it grows, capitalism and greed for money overwrites the actual purpose of helping people. Today, as we spread a word about mental health, we also need to inform the masses about the negative self-help chain. On an individual level, we need to understand that its essential to build a good life and succeed, but at the same time not break the one we are leading at the moment. We also need to educate ourselves enough about what to process when and how.

Sources : https://www.bing.com/images/trending?form=Z9LH, https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/,   http://hdl.handle.net/10603/37512, https://kisbp.com/2019/04/04/the-growth-of-the-self-help-industry-an-economic-examination/ 

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