It is almost impossible to go on Facebook or Instagram without seeing quotes or comments accompanied with motivational words such as, “Look on the bright side,” “Focus on the good things,” or “Be positive.”
Though well-intentioned, these phrases can end up creating more distress instead of helping. Why? Because they are examples of toxic positivity, a school of thought that operates on the principle that one should always have a positive attitude, even when things get difficult. In Québec, the famous catchphrase, “It’s going to be OK,” is undoubtedly one of the best known examples of this.
As a doctoral student in psychology, I am interested in internalized symptoms (depression, anxiety and social withdrawal) and externalized symptoms (delinquency, violent, oppositional/defensive, disruptive and impulsive behaviours). I believe it is important to focus on the negative consequences of “emotional invalidation” and to understand why we need to live with our negative emotions.