Can you be too positive?

When you are disabled or chronically ill people often expect you to be positive all the time and the moment you show any signs of negativity your Facebook wall will start blowing up with inspiration! Positivity is something we can all work on but there is such a thing as being too positive and when you start to blow up someone’s Facebook wall with inspirational quotes because they said something slightly negative it will leave no impact on a person but may, in fact, have the reverse effect.  Personally, I think inspiration can help some people so I do it on some of my blog accounts to keep everyone motivated but if someone is hurting I steer clear of that because it isn’t helpful and can get kind of annoying. Helping your friends through a difficult time can change how they look at life but can also leave no impact at all if you don’t what you are talking about and aren’t quite clear on the differences between positivity, negativity, and toxic positivity. What is toxic positivity? There is a big difference between people who are genuinely positive and ones that shove inspiration down your throat so don’t confuse the two because they are not the same. People that are telling you like it is and spreading positivity are making an impact and everyone else is not. Knowing the differences positivity, toxic positivity and negativity are super important if you ever want to ever make an impact on someone’s life so let’s talk a little bit about the differences so you can change someone’s life.

What is toxic positivity?- It is okay to not be okay but some people don’t believe that and will block out all negative emotions because they are convinced everyone and everything can and should be made positive regardless of what their situation is.  Sometimes you are just in a bad situation and there isn’t anything positive about that situation but some people are unwilling to accept that and will find something positive about their situation even if they have to create out of thin air or it’s the smallest thing that wouldn’t matter to most people. Negativity isn’t acceptable for some people so all things must be made possible!

Examples of Toxic positivity:

Validation of Hope

I understand things are hard right now but we can get through this together.

I know there is a lot of things that could go wrong but think of all the things that could go right.

Sometimes life can get hard and we want to give up. It’s okay to not be okay just remember I am always here for you!

I know that it is really hard to be positive right now but just know that I am thinking about you and hope that things get better for you soon.

Everyone has bad days and it’s okay to not be okay! Your feelings are validating whether or not they are positive or negative.

Toxic Positivity:

It’s just a phase and you’ll get over it!

Just be positive

Never give up!

Think happy thoughts!

Good Vibes Only

A good disability advocate will not only tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear and for some people that can be a little difficult to read and you may confuse our challenges with negativity! There is a fine line between being negative and overly positive and some of the things that some people write may come of a shock to some people but it’s not negativity. It is reality and what goes on in our lives and if we changed that and gave you a sugar-coated version you wouldn’t be learning from us. Sometimes I get messages from some people stating that my disability posts are too negative and I should make them a little more positive and uplifting and let me clear about one thing my posts are not negative but the realities of living with a disability. If I changed that and gave you a more sugar-coated version you might feel more inspired but I wouldn’t teach you anything about my life with a disability. There is a fine line between being negative and overly positive and in my experience when you are overly positive and just tell people it will all work out it doesn’t impact anyone.  Make a change and instead of blowing up someone’s news feed with inspiration help them change their mindset and make an impact. If someone is posting concerning Facebook status send them a private message and make sure they are okay because sometimes when people do that it means they are not. The power of conversation can go a long way and will have much more of an impact than any inspirational quote will! How do you impact someone when they are struggling?

2 thoughts on “Can you be too positive?

  1. Hi Judy, I think we are all guilty of saying thoughtless but meaning well every now and then so it’s definitely something we can all work on. People have also said thoughtless things to me because of my migraines like get a second opinion or stop taking your meds. You can’t see migraines so to someone who doesn’t experience them it seems like it’s just a headache and should be a simple solution but it isn’t and not taking medication is not the solution. I can function because of medication and if I stopped taking them I wouldn’t be able to function or even leave my house.


  2. Dear Sarah, This is a really important post and not one with easy answers. There is a “line,” as you suggest and the line moves with each individual—abled and disabled—and circumstance; for example, I have never experienced a migraine. My “experience” with migraines comes from reading your blogs and the blog of my dear friend, Rachel whose migraines, like yours, are debilitating. She is bed-ridden with unrelenting pain and vomiting. Some will say to her, “you should get a better doctor” or “you should try yoga” or “this too shall pass.” And while most people believe they mean well, none of these suggestions are helpful nor do they lend support to her/your pain. Rather than validating and supporting you and your pain, these comments are insensitive and make light of your hard reality. That said, I too have been guilty of these thoughtless comments, but with age, experience, time, and blogs, like yours and Rachel’s, I try to be more thoughtful, more empathetic, more sensitive when hearing about a person’s struggles. So keep writing, dear Sarah. Keep writing. Love, Judy💕


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