Life Mental Health

Quarantine Thoughts: Toxic Positivity

This post would talk about our mental health, toxic positivity and having rational optimism in this time of quarantine.

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. How are you all? I hope you are well and doing fine while staying at home. For today’s post, I want to share some of my thoughts about this whole quarantine thing that we all have been experiencing for the past month.

I have been reading The Plague by Albert Camus for the past weeks and like in the story, no one has anticipated that in one snap, everything would turn out like this. Our lives that we have planned out for a long time eventually just stopped and everything else gets conflicted. I know that we miss the normal days. We miss going to school or at work no matter how hard some days can be. We miss meeting with friends. We miss going out to dinner with our loved ones and all the outside stuff that we have been doing for the past years. It’s very different now since more and more people are getting infected everyday, there are people dying each single day ever since the outbreak started and many people who are isolated experiences mental breakdowns, anxiety, depression and fear of what’s going to happen. This is reality and we need to see this. In these times, we can’t just say and imply to other people to just look at the brighter side of things, because apparently, there’s not. There’s a huge controversy going on with the people who spread toxic positivity and those who are having rational hopes or in better terms, rational optimism and I will talk about this today. If there is any way that I am wrong, please feel free to correct me. I would also love to know your insights at the end of the post.

Toxic Positivity

First, let’s talk about the meaning of toxic positivity. Psychology Today says that “the phrase “toxic positivity” refers to the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.”

This is when you say to your friends and in your social media platforms that everything is alright so let’s just stay positive. Apparently, there is nothing wrong with being positive in life BUT it becomes toxic when you reject the concept of life suffering and imply it to yourself or to others. For example, your friend might be suffering from mental health problems and then you say, “hey, it’s not that bad. Always look at the bright side!” This is toxic because you dismiss your friend from feeling what he/she truly feels. You insist to show your own perspective rather than listening to your friend and empathizing with him/her. It can also apply to yourself when you disregard your own pain and suffering rather than embracing it.

Another example is when you, yourself, is not feeling well. Let’s say that you’ve been feeling bad with all the things that’s going on around you. You are anxious about a lot of things and you don’t want to embrace it. You probably would say that “everything happens for a reason” but instead of saying that, you could say, “hey, it’s okay to feel bad. This is perfectly normal. This, too, shall pass.” Embrace it. Don’t just reject your own feelings and sufferings because it is a part of your own growth.

Rational Optimism

Rational optimism is better than being overly positive. In rational optimism, you do not deny reality. Instead, you look at things rationally and having a proper assessment of the present situation and then you embrace it. When people are overly too optimist, what they believe in is their mindset, and it’s the only thing that matters. Rational optimists believe that mindset matters, but they also recognize that reality is part of the formula. And this is what I mean in the example above.

How do we distinguish toxic positivity from rational optimism?

There are times that it’s really hard to distinguish the difference. However, as stated above, toxic positivity starts when you reject the concept of life pain and suffering. It is normal for a human person to experience pain and all the failures we experience are part of our own growth. Here are some scenarios that makes positivity toxic:

  • When we pretend to be all-good and well when in reality, we’re just hiding what we truly feel and when we dismiss our own emotions rather than embrace it.
  • When we feel that it’s not okay to feel not okay; when we feel guilty because we’re feeling bad or not okay for the day.
  • When we invalidate other people’s experiences and life problems and say, “there’s so much worse than that.” All feelings are VALID and we don’t have the right to shame other people for what they’re feeling.
  • When we encounter a lot of life issues and ignores it from time to time. We can’t just run away from our own personal issues. We have to face it because if we don’t, we’re just escalating it and we will never get the chance to address what makes us unhappy.

Sources: Tanglaw Mental Health and Psychology Today


There are a lot of times that I’ve shared positivity to my friends and even here in this blog, not knowing that it’s not rational optimism but toxic positivity. The past year that I have not been posting, I was able to reflect and learn about this and now, I’m sharing it with you guys.

Now, in this time of quarantine, many people are feeling isolated. Now is not the time to be spreading toxic positivity. What we can do to ourselves or to our friends is to be rational in spreading genuine positivity; to be rational in spreading hope. I believe that there is always hope, we just need to learn how to weigh it and how to share it without being overly too positive which could result once again, to toxic positivity.

Let’s be more rational in these times. I really hope you learned something from this. I also want to know in the comments below what your thoughts are.

Do you agree about toxic positivity? What are your thoughts? Let’s talk about it!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in the next post!


Please stay at home and don’t go out unless very necessary; practice social distancing if you do. Salute to all the front liners risking their own lives to help in this whole situation. You are all heroes! Speak up to the government/authorities if they’re not doing their part. Wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Contact your families, relatives and friends who are far away from you, make sure they are safe and well. Pray deeper. Stay safe everyone! 

Blossom Themes

21 Comments

  1. I think you tackled a really important issue really well, and kudos to you for doing that! Toxic positivity is certainly something that needs to be talked about more. Especially in a time like now.

    I feel like my social media is full of the two extremes in this lockdown; of people saying “Hey, look at the bright side! Use this time to lose weight/learn how to cook/get a new hobby!!!” and on the other hand we have people who try to constantly put down the little bits of happiness we do feel by saying things like “You’re only happy in this lockdown because you have socioeconomic privilege” or “think of all the people suffering, how can you be so ignorant and happy?”

    Both are so, so wrong, because one, we need to accept and embrace the change we are undergoing mentally and physically due to this change in our environment, and it is okay if we do not feel like pushing ourselves, or if we cannot be our best selves. And on the other hand, when we do succeed in being able to cope with our situation, we shouldn’t pull ourselves down a rabbit hole of things we cannot control.

    This comment is so long, aahh, but I loved your post and the discussion it opened.

    1. Thank you so much and I definitely agree with that! I haven’t been aware about toxic positivity for so long and now I had the time to reflect upon it.

      Oh, I definitely agree! This pandemic is really out of our control and the one thing that we can control is our thoughts, actions and emotions on how to cope with it without forcing other people to do the same. I also believe that we really need empathy in this trying times.

      Thank you so much for your comment! I loved reading it and I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and being open about it. 😊❤️

  2. I really liked this post. It’s weird how we have feelings ABOUT our feelings. How we find it necessary to invalidate or dismiss certain emotions for whatever reason we come up with or because we think other people are telling us it’s wrong to feel that way. I’ve been trying to find the balance between feeling the way I do and not letting it control or take over my life. Nicely done with this post.

    1. Ack I know, it’s really weird! For some time now I have been trying not to invalidate my own feelings and just accept it. It’s kind of hard but it makes me feel greater than just denying it. And oh yes, I believe that balance is really good. Thank you so much for sharing your insight! I definitely loved it. 💕

  3. This is such a good and important post! Thanks for sharing <3

    1. Thank you so much, Tryphena! ❤️

  4. I never really realized this the difference between toxic positivity and rational optimism. There are some times where I can create a sense of toxic positivity on to myself now that I realize it. I definitely need to work on letting my emotions out in a way that won’t be toxic!

    1. Same here! For some time now I’ve been really working on this, too— to accept what I truly feel than deny it. It’s kind of a struggle but it feels a lot better to embrace than to deny everything and still keep a happy face. I hope you work it out, and I’m sure you can do it! ❤️ Thank you so, so much for reading this post! ❤️

  5. Toxic positivity is definitely something I’m still learning about myself. To me, it sounds like the issue is not so much the positive thoughts, but more a suppression of any negative thoughts or even reality.

    1. Same here!!! And I definitely agree with that though I haven’t really seen it that way. Thank you SO much for sharing your insights and for reading! I really appreciate it! ✨

  6. A very thought provoking blog post. To be honest, I have always wondered if negative emotions are ok and discovered it’s a part of life. This post reiterated my belief.
    Nowadays, social media is indirectly putting pressure on the masses to run away from the serious and sad reality.
    Let’s accept the reality and learn from the circumstances we are put in. Also, keeping everyone in our prayers, let’s try to come out from all of it as a better civilization.🙏💛

    We are all in it together!🌎💙
    Stay safe and stay blessed!

    -theinkwarrior
    And check your inbox too! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad this post has helped you in any way! And I agree, social media really has its way to make us run away from reality. And yes, everyday is a new chance to learn so let’s accept what circumstances we are in.

      Thank you so much for reading!! ❤️
      I had so much fun with the Zoom chat! 💕

  7. Thank you for sharing this post! I really learned a lot. I am not aware that there are different types of positivity. It made me realize that sometimes my positivity is toxic. It’s funny how I always tell myself to always look at the brighter side of things even on situations that are not applicable. I really need to work on this. I’m glad to have come across your blog.

    1. Ack, thank you so much for reading!! 😭💕 I’m really glad you learned a lot in this post and gave back a positive comment. I was scared to publish this at first because it might receive lots of negative feedbacks but I am so happy that so far, there is none. 😊 I’m really glad I could help and I guess we’re all working on it! Thank you so much again for reading. ❤️❤️ Stay safe!

      1. I think that before taking the time to look at the brighter side is to really recognize your own pain or that negative feeling. I think that’s very important only then we can proceed to next level wc is to move forward/look at the bright side again bc it’s dangerous if we always stick to our negative thoughts. right? I think YOU NEED to look at the brighter side of things but not necessarily ALWAYS. It actually helps to really balance the two. That’s my opinion. Hihi

        1. That’s a great insight! I think as long as we don’t dismiss our negative feelings and just deny it, it will be okay to look for the brighter side. It’s actually the hope that we’re looking for. And yes, it’s dangerous to just focus on negative thoughts. 😊 Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. This is an amazing post! Toxic positivity is so common, and it’s definitely taken a toll on many a person’s mental health. Something that I’ve been noticing is that it’s extremely apparent in social media, specifically in blog circles. So many blogger, not to call anyone out, have been “forced” to remain positive for their audiences. Not only is this bad for the people reading their posts, but for the blogger themselves. I have fallen into this trap many times, even though I’m not really a positive person. This is something that could definitely be fixed within the blogging community. Anyway, amazing post! It’s so great to see a light shown on this, I know it will help so many people into seeing the danger in their previously thought habits. Thank you so much for sharing💕💫

    1. Thank you so much! Indeed, it’s very common but sometimes people don’t realize that they are implying toxic positivity to their own self or to others. That is so true! I have been blogging for years now and before there are times that I write positively even though I don’t really feel it in myself which just made what I’m feeling go worse. 😣 I agree, this can be fixed! Thank you so much for reading and for having a really good insight about it! I’m so happy to know what you think! ❤️✨ Please always stay safe!

  9. Ahhh this was so interesting! Rational positivity is much more healthy and I try to aspire towards that as much as possible. Thanks for sharing xx

    1. I’m so glad it caught your interest! I agree! Thank you so much for reading, Amelia! ❤️✨

  10. […] A little side note that there’s no way I am implicating that you should feel or be productive this quarantine. This is a tough time for all of us, especially the front liners, so if you’re kind of feeling stressed and down about the whole thing going on, it’s actually okay and normal to feel bad or sad about it. Nevertheless, we should always remain hopeful that this, too, will pass. [Read: Quarantine Thoughts: Toxic Positivity] […]

Let me know your thoughts!