sunday magazine21:03Nora McInerny on ‘toxic positivity’ and rejection of her new book Bad Vibes Only
Despite trendy home decor proclaiming “only good vibes,” a mantra that requires people to leave tough feelings at the door, Nora McInerny actually believes that the vibe of life is at best It is said to be a mixed bag.
“I’m someone who knows that life is more than just a highlight reel for most people,” said the author, podcaster, and remarried widow. Sunday magazine Piya Chatpadhyay.
In her new collection of essays, only bad vibesMcInerney challenges an overly optimistic culture, a culture that constantly strives for self-improvement and ignores the clutter and genuine emotions of human existence.
Example: She may feel unwelcome when you enter a room with aggressively bright furniture.
“I can understand what people mean when they buy something like that or display something like that. It means ‘I’m not interested in hearing about the pain and suffering that someone I love is going through.’ I don’t think so,” he said. McInerney.
“But it affects people who aren’t feeling well or who are dealing with the realities of life … making them feel better off hiding it for another occasion.”
Instead of banishing negative vibes, McInerney wants people to practice what she calls “emotional honesty.”
She has written and spoken extensively about the grief of dealing with the deaths of her husband and father in 2014, and is doing it herself.
Bad, awkward, and uncomfortable atmospheres help form more interesting relationships, conversations, and life experiences, she argues.
“Have you ever read a good book where it’s just a funny story where everyone gets along and everything is fine and everyone gets exactly what they want when they want it?” she said. rice field.
“Only good vibes. Frankly, it’s boring. It’s boring.”
The dark side of pointing to the bright side
Although not clinical in nature, “Toxic Positive” is a term coined to describe this particular brand in pursuit of lasting well-being.
Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, defines it as a form of denial. “When you tell someone to ‘stay positive,’ you’re basically saying, ‘My comfort is more important than your reality,'” she writes.
It can manifest itself as a well-intentioned suggestion that “it’s not all bad!” or “Look on the bright side!”when her friends and colleagues shared uncomfortable stories and experiences, which McInerney’s somewhat positive view of her late husband’s terminal cancer diagnosis didn’t change. It reminds me of what comes before.
[Toxic positivity] It causes more shame and can actually make your mood significantly worse.– Dr. Saunia Ahmad
University of Toronto psychology professor and researcher Brett Ford says we are all guilty. When a friend (or loved one or employee) comes to us with a problem, we want to reduce the impact of their unpleasant emotions.
But the reality is that both positive and negative emotions contribute to healthy mental health. And too often, Ford says, we see happiness as something to be desired and bad feelings as problems to be solved.
Seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses may seem obviously beneficial, but research, Including Ford himself, suggesting that the opposite may be true. That’s because constantly judging your emotions can form so-called meta-emotions (feelings about your emotions) that can exacerbate your discomfort.
“The more we judge and evaluate our emotions—whether they are good or bad—and the more we want to get rid of them, the worse our psychological health becomes,” says Ford.
Dr. Saunia Ahmad, a clinical psychologist and director of the Toronto Psychology Clinic, says ignoring difficult emotions with phrases such as ‘only good feelings’ sends harmful messages to those experiencing depression and anxiety. said it was possible.
“It tells them they’re doing something wrong…and it encourages more shame and can actually make them feel significantly worse.
Emotions are ultimately beneficial. Fear tells us to run away from danger. Anger tells us to assert ourselves. Hart says something is missing in our lives.
“To get out of that feeling, you have to go through it first,” Ahmad said. “So, in order to get out of pain, you must first experience pain.”
It may mean avoiding the urge to push away negative emotions and instead accepting them as temporary. help them get through faster.
Emotional honesty with loved ones and with oneself
This is not to say that there are no positive places. “Certainly, we are talking to people about balance,” Ahmad said.
Psychologists may encourage people who are feeling angry to write down things they are grateful for.
Similarly, social environments that provide temporary escape from unpleasant emotions can help us process them.
In her book, McInerney describes herself as the saddest happy person, or conversely, the happiest sad person she knows.
“If I could draw a Venn diagram of myself, those two things would overlap and it would be like I’m the life of the party and I’m the poop of the party,” she said. said with a smile.
And while she calls on all of us to be more honest with our feelings, she acknowledges that honesty can sometimes be reserved for trusted listeners, especially yourself.
“Target’s checkout kid doesn’t deserve the truth when he asks how I’m doing. He really isn’t.
“He didn’t get paid to hear that.”