Toxic Positivity? Seriously? | The Mental Toughness Coach - Chris Dorris

Toxic Positivity? Seriously?

To the well-trained mind, there are no “mistakes” or “problems” – there are only events. And all events can be created from.

I read a weird article yesterday entitled, “What is Toxic Positivity? Why It’s OK to Not Be OK Right Now.” “Toxic Positivity” as I understand it, is that weak, fake positive spin approach to seeing reality. It means deluding yourself into thinking some bad set of circumstances isn’t really so bad, or that it’ll just pass. The term “toxic positivity” is stupid, though. It’s a complete oxymoron. If it was legitimately positive, it could never be toxic. It should really be called “Phony Positivity” because it refers to the attitude of someone who is faking positivity.

Fundamentally, I dislike the article because I think it reflects some obtuse thinking. The article does, however, have some value in that it validates the reader for feeling crappy sometimes. There is great value in feeling validated. It takes the “crazy” out. Validation is huge. It helps you feel normal. So the article is validating people now for feeling like shit during this pandemic. According to this the article, there are only two options:

Be Toxically Positive and tell yourself this bad thing will just go away at some point and everything will be fine. Keep your chin up.
Be honest with yourself that this totally sucks and give yourself permission to feel like shit.

The problem I have with this kind of thinking is that it whiffs completely on a third, very powerful option. Have a listen to see what they missed.


The link to the article:


  1. Denny Coates says:

    Chris, your point is so important. Obviously, unwanted things, sometimes awful things have happened in my life. But with creativity and determination I’ve been able to make lemonade. And later, looking back, every time, I’ve been able to conclude that my current terrific situation would never have turned out so well if the bad thing had not happened. An amazing insight.

    BTW, Meredith Bell is my business partner of 30 years, and she encouraged me to check out your content. Really liking it.

    • The Mental Toughness Coach says:

      We were just speaking of you yesterday, Denny, when we recorded her podcast episode. 30 years! That’s what I call a successful partnership! You are blessed to be in such good company, as is she.

      That is a very skillful approach you take to interpreting reality. I’m still practicing (and I love the practice) catching myself in low-grade reactions and replacing them with high-grade new interpretations with high-grade self-talk. Even all the little examples like losing a button on a shirt. They all add up. They are all repetitions in the ultimate mental workout so that when an important event occurs, I am able to respond as soon as possible – one day instantly – with mastery.

      I appreciate the note, Denny.



Leave a Reply

Please leave a comment.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and reactions!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!