What Is Toxic Positivity?

Ok that’s it for me. In an age of rage, we have Toxic Positivity.

Positivity is toxic. Who knew? And there are so many signs that you may suffer from this ailment. Nothing is sacred.

I learned this term from my dear friend, a teacher for more than 30 years, who lights up my day whenever I see her. It’s that damn positivity. Gets me down every day.

She told me about a teacher, who is a good friend of hers, who was called out for toxic positivity in a meeting of teachers. This friend, who happens to be on the sunny side of the street, unlike me – happy is not my fall back position –  said something positive to another teacher who responded with, “I feel I am under attack from toxic positivity.”

Oh no. Not positive toxicity?

And the teacher who said something positive is under review for her “positivity.”

You just want to put a knife to your own head.

We live in a world of so much darkness, so much sadness. So much helplessness. But being positive can be dangerous. Well, too positive.

I looked up toxic positivity. Could not believe the number of articles! This is a serious condition.

Yes, I get it. When someone tells you something very sad, saying chin up, as was done in the old days, may not be helpful. Not empathic as the experts say. How do you expect people to have empathy, though, when they are attacked for being on the bright side? What a great way to stop people from being empathic. Better they hold their tongue.

So I wondered. Is there such a thing as toxic negativity?

Why yes, there is!

Thank God for psychologists.

Seems toxic negative people love to complain.

They are always the victim. Not my fault!

“After all, if they can blame their lack of success on their upbringing, the job market, or the mole on their chin, they can avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. To a negative person, the world is forever unfair. Their locus of control is external, meaning that they believe things just happen to them. Meanwhile, a positive person’s locus of control is internal. This allows them to take charge of their life and change their circumstances.”

Uh. Now I get it. Toxic positivity is dangerous because you are in control of your life. Unacceptable in a world that is divided into the oppressor and the oppressed – the VICTIM. So someone suffering from positive toxicity would be an oppressor. Can’t have that can we?

Steve Maraboli , apparently a well-known author in all things toxic wrote about toxic negativity.

“People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.”

Wait a minute.

Fuel myself with positivity?

So I should be positive!

Oh, not too positive.

Not too sunny.

Don’t want to offend the toxic negative people.


From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”