Toxic Positivity On T’internet

Namaste,all. Is everyone happy?

I’m all for positive thinking… god knows we all struggle with everyday living, particularly in these unprecedented lockdown days of 2020.

But there’s a marked contrast between keeping a healthy lifestyle, sense of perspective, and sense of self, and a delusional way of being, whereby happiness is the end goal and, seemingly, all we are seeking. This all-pervasive, happy- clappy sunshine and rainbows BS is called toxic positivity.

Dr Ramani Durvasala, a brilliant psychologist specialising in narcisssists and helping those suffering from narcissistic abuse, recently described an incident where she and her peers were out at dinner, discussing how to help someone who had really been struggling. One of the doctors (a trained clinical psychologist, mind!) said, “Oh, no. I don’t want to hear it, because… it hurts my heart”. Dr Durvasala made her excuses and promptly left the group. I think she may well have lost her shit, had she stuck around.

This epitomises the very real mindset of the unicorns and sparkles brigade. That’s fine for kids, but there’s a definite shift towards a dangerous kind of positive thinking that becomes magical, espousing that if you put kindness into the world, no harm can ever come. Wish cancer away! Imagine your ex is sorry and wants you back and he surely will! People are basically good! I’d love to believe in such fanciful notions, but life isn’t like that.

Several life gurus popped up on my algorithms lately. The worst has to be Shelly Bullard. An attractive hippy type in her twenties, Bullard, always on the brink of laughter in her videos, shares her ‘success’ by simply ‘manifesting’ her desires. I think I know why she’s laughing. Her poor subscribers buy into this shit.

She’s actually rather dangerous, I think. Her followers seem incredibly young and gullible, and by believing in her nebulous ideals, seem to think they will succeed in love, work and life goals. I’d love to hear her take on people losing their livelihoods and homes during the global pandemic. ‘Just smile, inhale deeply and picture your dream house’. Would that be a Wendy house, you bloody patchouli cloud?

This vague, neo- hippy stuff denies the years of hard work people put in to achieving a good career, and the necessary sacrifices made in so doing. There’s no amount of quoting Neville Goddard or cosmic yoga that will get you that promotion (unless, that is, you teach yoga and wellness, and are actually trained). Nonetheless, here’s hoping for a safe, peaceful festive season and a better 2021.

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