Toxic Positivity

Toxic Positivity

The other day, I saw a t-shirt that said “No Bad Vibes Allowed” and I think my eyes did a complete 360 revolution in their sockets. Toxic positivity is so ubiquitous it is now t-shirt fodder. Oy.

Key topics:

✔️ Guess what – sometimes as a human being, you will feel sad, angry, frustrated, upset, etc. There is no way I know of to be positive about every single moment every single day.
✔️ Even though we are all existentially alone, it is so healing to be heard and understood by another human being. Getting slapped down by toxic positivity robs you off that catharsis.
✔️ As my wartime consigliere told me, “A lot of these people who say they work in ‘love and light’ all the time are actually seething with unresolved rage.”  WORD.
✔️ Providing a healthy outlet for your anger is better than bottling it up or ignoring it. Go to the batting cages. Punch a punching bag at the gym. But don’t hold it in and paste a fake smile over the top of it under the guise of “love and light only!”


Transcription by Please forgive any typos!

Hello, hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Causey Consulting podcast. I’m your host, Sara Causey and I’m also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at Causey Today, I w nt to talk about toxic p sitivity. Now, that may be a p rase that you’ve heard before, a d you’re not sure exactly what i means or how it might m nifest in someone’s life. Or m ybe it’s completely new to y u. But my guess is that you’ve p obably experienced it at one t me or another. And as we go t rough this episode, you may be n dding your head going, yep, t at’s happened to me. Also, i ‘s funny because this topic h s come up several times over t e past couple of weeks. And I t ought, you know, that’s kind o a signal that it would make a g eat podcast episode, I draw a l t of inspiration from real l fe, things that have happened t me in business or things that h ve happened to my friends, r al true conversations that I ve had. So I think this is v ry timely and topical. And i ‘s funny because I was out d ing some shopping yesterday a d I actually saw a T shirt t at said, no bad vibes aloud. A d I think I rolled my eyes all t e way back into my head. It w s like Tony Stark in The A engers was like, this is even b coming like, t shirt fodder n w. Like, give me a break. So o e of the conversations that i spired this episode was a d scussion I was having with one o my friends. And in a lot of p rts of the country. q arantines are being eased. P ople are getting vaccinated, t ey’re coming out from hiding. T e more extroverted folks in s ciety are like yeah, let’s l t’s get the hell out of the h use. We’re ready to get back t large events and groups and a l that as an introvert. I’m l kely y’all go ahead. But you k ow, I’m kind of fine. Being at t e Hacienda is still a q arantine has not been u setting for me at all. But I g t it more extroverted people w nt to get out, they want to t avel, they want to socialize. A d my friend has a very close r lationship with her brother, t ey had a rough childhood and i really bonded the two of them t gether. Sometimes siblings, t ey grow up, they get families o their own, they move away. A d the bond even if they were c ose in childhood, like that b nd starts to dissipate a l ttle and they just lose touch a d as life moves them on and o her directions, but my friend a d her brother have maintained a very solid and close f iendship even into adulthood. A d they had not seen one a other since December of 2019. S like the holiday season, pre C VID was their last in person g t together. And so she was e cited to be able to see him a ain. With that being said, she a d her sister in law do not h ve a tight friendship. The two o them don’t really get along a l that. Well. Of course the b other was going to bring his w fe with him for this visit for s veral days at my friend’s h use. And evidently, the sister i law came in and acted about l ke Blanche DuBois in s reetcar, wanted to be o erdramatic, and make snide l ttle snarky remarks about e erything. It didn’t like the w y the food was cooked, bought, t e towels weren’t folded p operly, in the bathroom c pboards and just anything she c uld nitpick she did, and an thing she could do to seem st ck up and snotty she did th ough the whole visit. And it wa aggravating, of course to my fr end, but she felt like she ne ded to bite her tongue. And at different times, she wondered if maybe the sister in law was de iberately trying to pick a fi ht when maybe she was in entionally trying to go my fr end into an argument so that so e drama and problems could er pt. She could tell her hu band Well, let’s just go ho e. I don’t feel comfortable be ng here. I don’t want to be ar und the fighting. Let’s just ro l. And my friend didn’t want to play into that she wanted to ha e this opportunity to catch up with her brother in person, ha e some fellowship with Him. So she wasn’t going to play into wh tever the sister in law was do ng. After they left she ca led some of her other fr ends. It was like I just ca ‘t believe this be odd. She Sh was so stuck up and rude. Th towels weren’t folded rig t. She didn’t like what we had to eat. And she wanted to nit ick the way I mopped the flo rs. Just nothing I did was rig t. Who does that? What a cra py house guest and her fri nds shamed her and started doi g the toxic positivity crap lik , well, you shouldn’t just be lad that quarantines are get ing lifted. Well, you should jus be glad for the time you got with your brother. Well, tha says more about her than doe about you and just like it’ almost like the ER of pos tivity like well, you should jus be glad bah, bah. That’s like the wall wall horn that I hear in my mind. When people like that start talking. Like no matter how bad a situation was, no matter how inappropriate someone else’s behavior to you might have been. It’s like they’re telling you that you don’t have a right to have Have any kind of quote negative emotion about that? Well, I call bullshit on that. Up, down, sideways and back around again. So when my friend calls me to download about what happened, I’m like, Well, of course, you’re going to be aggravated, you know, somebody comes into your house, your temple, your sanctuary, your place, and starts taking a dump on the way that you live your life and everything that you do, when they’re supposed to be the guest in your house, EFF that, like, I totally understand why you would be upset. And that’s all she needed. She just needed for somebody to be on the other end of the phone and say, Yeah, I get it, I understand why you’d be irritated. And I also understand why you didn’t want to play into her plans, you know, if she was doing that, to try to manipulate you and pick a fight, I understand why you wouldn’t want to give her the satisfaction of goading you into an argument so that she can then you know, elbow, your brother in the ribs and go come on ball, I think we should just leave like I get it. There is something so healing, and so restorative to just simply being heard and feeling as though another human being has understood your situation, whether it’s a massive struggle, some life changing event, or whether it’s just something super annoying, like having your sister in law be Blanche DuBois in your house, like we we need from time to time, to have that connection, of understanding and of being heard with another human being. Ultimately, we are existentially alone, nobody can crawl into your flesh suit and see the world through your eyes and process things in exactly precisely the same way that your brain does. You are very unique in that regard. But with that being said, it is nice when you can have those connections with other people and and feel validated, feel heard, feel appreciated. And so often that helps us to be able to set that baggage down and move on. And once my friend was heard about Yeah, what a beeyotch, she started laughing it off. Yeah, she is how petty how stupid and then she was able to set that baggage down and move on. And that’s a really satisfying feeling. In my own life, I’ve recently started working with someone who I affectionately and somewhat jokingly refer to as my wartime consigliere and hopefully those of you listening have seen The Godfather and you get the reference, but in case you haven’t, I’ll provide it for you here. One of these days I need to record an episode about Michael Corleone have had some ideas about it and written a few things down one of these days, I need to get all the clips together and do it. But I digress. I have some BHAGs and ome things that I’m working on. nd I also need to record an pisode about BHAGs and m onshot goals big, hairy, a dacious goals. These can be t ings that are stretched out o er a decade, it can be like a b cket list a life’s blood, s mething you want to make sure t at you achieve before you kick o f. Or it could be something m ch more short term within the n xt six months within the next y ar. I want x y, z, I want to m ke sure that I’m in such and s position within this amount o time. And I have a BHAG like th t that I’m working on. And I th ught you know you need to get wi h a wartime consigliere a you ne d to get with somebody who ca really and truly advise you st ategize with you brainstorm wi h you, and help you put all of the moving parts together. Li e I have this vision in my mi d and from a law of at raction and deliberate cr ation standpoint. I know what I’ willing to do and what I’m no willing to do how I want to mo e the chess pieces around. Bu there is a tremendous amount of value in getting with a good co ch, a good strategist, so ebody who has been where you ar before. They can help you av id stepping on landmines and re lly guide you around po ential pitfalls or problems. Th y just have a level of ex erience, whether it’s life ex erience or business ex erience that you don’t have ye . Being able to tap into that kn wledge or even just have so eone around as a sounding bo rd to keep you out of trouble or to keep you in a good place is so amazingly helped. It is it is truly worth its weight in go d. And so yet again, my wa time consigliere and I were t lking and we got on to this t pic of toxic positivity. And I as discussing like people who on y good vibes don’t ever have a negative thought as if you ca control the random though s that pop into your brain, you know, we have 1000s of thoughts every single day. And you’re you some people call it the monkey mind or the monkey brain, it can get pulled into so many different directions, apropos of nothing and random thoughts that pop into your brain. And you’re putting so much stress and pressure on yourself to go whoop, don’t you do it? No, do you have a negative thought? You don’t have to feed those negative thoughts and give them a lot of encouragement. But to say that you’re forbidden it’s verboten to ever have a negative thought how ridiculous and so i was i was i was ragging on the only work in love and light only only good vibes only no bad vibes allowed and all that nonsense. You know, he was laughing and he said, The funny thing to me about people that are always preaching to everyone else, don’t get upset Love and Light only a good vibes only. He said so many of those people, whether they know it or not, they are walking around with like a boiling cauldron of anger inside them. And they don’t have any outlet to let that anger let that resentment let that pain out of themselves. They want to preach to everybody else, hypocritically about love and light only, but they don’t actually feel that way internally themselves. And and I’m like, Man, that’s, that is so true. So that’s one thing that I want you to take away from this episode is a lot of these so called gurus that are telling you no bad vibes allowed Love and Light only don’t ever think anything negative don’t ever feel anger. It’s a load of bull first and foremost. But secondly, a lot of those people are not even practicing what they’re preaching, or they’re suppressing their emotions in such an unhealthy way that one of these days, it’s all going to come bubbling out. You can only run from yourself for just so long before those emotions need to get out of your body. And I would much rather that you go to the gym and hit a punching bag or go to one of those places you know where you’re like throw the axes against the wall or go don’t go to all those places. I don’t remember like what the what the franchise is called. But there are some places you can go and use break crap. They put you in a deal almost like an escape room. But it’s like everything has been modified for safety. And you can just go in there and break stuff to your heart’s content. Or go to the batting cages and hit some baseballs. But let that let that nx let that frustration let that anger have a way out of you don’t shame yourself with some toxic odd positivity crap that you’re quote, not allowed to feel anger, frustration, resentment. It’s a crock of crap and it’s an impossible standard to achieve. It also in my mind feeds into the mentality I’ve warned you guys about before have winners never quit and quitters never win. No, there is such a thing as strategic quitting. There is such a thing as getting away from someone who’s toxic for you to be around. Maybe everybody else likes them, but they just give you the creeps. Or maybe every time you get together with them you get into a fight. Sometimes relationships or friendships go through a life cycle and they run a natural course not everybody that you’re friends with now is going to still be in your life as a as a down as homie in 20 years. This is sometimes it’s just not possible. Or it may be that the job that you’re in right now today is awesome. But five years from now, management totally changes. There’s a major shake up and the company becomes a place that you absolutely loathe. Sometimes that’s going to happen in life and trying to do this. Oh, I’m just going to grin and bear it. I’m just gonna bloom where I’m planted. Now. There are times when that makes you feel so much worse than just acknowledging what it is. You know what I like this company for a long time. But the management changed and I’m really freaking unhappy now. Or when we first started dating, it was rosy and sunshine and I just loved every minute that we were together. But over the past year, it’s gone downhill and when I pull into the driveway, I just want to burst into tears. I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of even going in. You need to have those real genuine conversations with yourself. To me, I feel like that’s another way that toxic positivity robs people. Is it so inauthentic it’s phony baloney. Like my constantly he said those people are boiling with anger. They’re telling everybody else work and love and light only and good vibes and karma and all this. Meanwhile, they have like a cauldron of hate sitting in their stomach. To thine own self be true. So it’s so important in this life to get to know yourself What are your boundaries? What are your barriers? What do you need to embrace? What do you need to get rid of at any given season of your life and trying to force yourself to be someone that you’re not or try to force yourself to not have emotions that you Clearly have, it’s such a load of bull and it’s so phony, and inauthentic. I’ve also heard it argued that toxic positivity is like a form of gaslighting. It’s someone else. And very often in my observation, it’s someone who wasn’t even in the room when something went down, telling you that your experience is not valid, you didn’t really see or hear what you’re telling them that you did, or you took it wrong, you’re too sensitive, you’re too thin skin. He didn’t mean it like that. I don’t think she said that. I’m sure it didn’t go down that way. It’s like they’re, they’re chipping away at your mind and your soul trying to tell you that what you know, that you experienced or what you know, that you saw or heard this other person do or say, it just simply isn’t true. This can manifest in interpersonal relationships, and also in the workplace. So in the workplace, it can show up in a situation like you and a colleague, have a discussion. The colleague says something that is inappropriate or hurtful to you. And you go to your boss with that information. And the boss tries to Gaslight you and said, Well, I don’t think he I don’t think he meant it that way. Or I think you might be misinterpreting that. Did he really say that? That just doesn’t sound in character for him. To me. I was in a situation like that. In a previous job where I had a colleague who had gone really out of his way to construct a facade of himself is like this good upstanding down home Christian man, he really wanted to make sure that everybody knew that he went to church all the time, and he was a Christian. Yet, as I’m sure you can probably tell, by the way I’m explaining this story to you. His behavior was anything but Christ, like he was very Sharky and very sneaky, but he would go about it in a passive aggressive way. He wouldn’t just come right out and do something I mean, in any type of sales or marketing situation, just ipso facto. That entire industry by its very nature is going to attract some degree of individuals that are Sharky and snaky that they’re all about the money and they’re they’re very Machiavellian. In their methods, it’s like the episode of on the dark triad sales is is going to attract people that will succeed by any means necessary, and they do not care who they need to step on, on their perceived meteoric rise to the top. My philosophy has always been if you’re going to stab me than stab me in the chest, let me see you coming with the knife so that I know what you’ve done. Naturally, there will be some retribution coming. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. But to me, it takes a really cowardly wormy, just crap head individual to stab somebody in the back and then play pretend that they didn’t. If you’re going to do something, then own up to what you’ve done, man up or woman up and let me see what’s going on. But when you try to lurk in the shadows, it’s just particularly galling to me. And this guy was that type of person, passive, aggressive, sneaky, sneaky, but he would cloak all of it in. I’m so spiritual, I love the Lord, I go to church all the time, I would just never do anything malicious. I would just never steal an account from anybody. I’m just so righteous and upright. And it was total baloney. And when I would go to my boss with facts about, here’s how it went down, I would feel that I was being gaslighted. Well, that just doesn’t sound like him. Are you sure he said that? Are you sure this couldn’t just be a big misunderstanding, you just need to give people the benefit of the doubt more often. I can’t tell you how many times that when something would go down. Pete within this particular company, obviously, I’m not going to name drop and say where it was, but just it that seemed to be endemic of part of their culture was to tell people give everybody the benefit of the doubt. assume everybody has good intentions. Assume that if somebody makes a mistake, it was an honest mistake. It was an innocent accident. They didn’t mean it. But yet the way that the company actually operated, it was like never An Innocent Mistake. It was never an honest accident. It was always somebody trying to shank somebody else in the back in order to try to get ahead or steal an account or get a client from them. So be careful around people in your life, whether we’re talking about family member, friend, neighbor, boss, calling whomever if they’re trying to tell you well, I don’t really believe that happened that way. Or, you know, I just don’t see him being able to say something like that, or I can’t believe that she would ever behave in that way. Trust your own gut instinct. I that is something that I will never caution you guys about whatsoever. If your gut instinct if your spidey senses are telling you there’s something off about that guy or there’s something kind of sinister and creepy about this situation or Even though everybody loves Bob and thinks he’s great, I don’t I don’t think so there’s something about his energy that’s repulsive to me. Trust your own gut instinct. These people who are out there preaching to be grateful about every single thing that happens to you, no matter how heinous or terrible it is, tune them out, Own your feelings. If you need to talk to a therapist or a counselor, you have talking to trusted friends or family members is not enough, which sometimes in life, it won’t be sometimes you do need that professional help get it, absolutely get it. And if you find that you are in a therapeutic or counseling situation, and the person that you’re working with has that toxic positivity, where they’re not, they’re not really helping you to work through your issues, or to maybe probe your shadow self or get into childhood traumas and really heal if you feel like all they’re doing is just telling you to buck up, be grateful look on the bright side. And that’s not for you find somebody else. There are plenty of providers and clinicians out there. And with so many platforms now being digital, where you can either text or have Skype meeting with your therapist, the sky’s the limit really, on who you’re able to connect with. It doesn’t have to be somebody that’s within driving range of your workplace or your home, you can connect with somebody in another part of the country or maybe even another part of the world. But you want to make sure that it’s a person who gets you the two of you are on the same wavelength and they’re able to really help you. But if somebody comes at you with this toxic positivity or gratitude by any means necessary, you must be grateful for everything no matter how terrible friends don’t walk, just run. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share it. If you haven’t already, take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now.

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