The Challenge

The year just past presented more challenges to me than I could have anticipated; undoubtably for many of you too. If I’m being totally upfront, the last eight years have been tough, sometimes beyond my innate strengths and I’ve had to find and use new tools and skills to cope.

As I emerged from that and into the crazy landscape of Covid-19 World, there were several opportunities to look closely at my life, how I must live it now and the people who are in it. The new knowledge I’d gained gave me a clearer lens to view some relationships and to understand their impact on my ability to still learn, grow and perhaps even flourish in this weird world; one that continues on into 2021!

One of the hardest things that I had to deal with didn’t have a name, it was simply a feeling of not wanting to be around or talk to some people. This wasn’t a return or lingering of the profound Agoraphobia that I lived through. This feeling is not exactly new either, I’ve simply buried my reactions to some of these folks and avoid them. As it turns out, what I’ve been dealing with isn’t uncommon and it’s called “Toxic Positivity”.

I won’t faff on as I have a link here to share that although lengthy, is excellent at describing what TP is and the effect that it has on  people who are subjected to it. I will say that as a person living with M.E. and having gone through a separation from my partner of nearly 30 years, the amount of TP – not the kind you stash when your Province is in Covid Lockdown – is significant. Sometimes, it seems benign but in truth it’s left me feeling misunderstood, sad and sometimes angry. To me, it shows a profound lack of empathy.

It’s 100% okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to be sad about a huge change in one’s circumstances. It’s not okay for someone to minimize your pain or loss with platitudes. A person in pain wants to be heard not preached at.

Excellent article. Give it a read.

Toxic Positivity: Why Positive Vibes are Ruining You

3 thoughts on “The Challenge

  1. Whoa about TP . I feel a little self conscious about that. I am not sure how I would come off with others looking at myself objectively. I am aware of others frustration and I am positive i give them room to vent…. I am supposed to be a good listener. I know that if it is a reoccurring problem I tend to lose patience and demand things to move along Sometimes when I can I can point out what that person is not seeing. I do get what subtle backlash I get in my mind when I here ‘there there it will be fine” it is like the other person is not hearing you. Anyways with this Covid thing it has fallen into my groove sort to say. It is really smoking out those Dunning Kruger zombies that ignore facts or think they know better than the experts. At my age I readily voice my opinion on them to their face if they are in my way, other than that I leave them with their own stupidity. I know these people will never learn so any effort on my part is to just relieve that pressure so nothing builds up.
    I thought some of the people I know , and related to were smarter. Very disappointed and easily distanced my self from them……complaint disclaimer here … In no way do I think I am any smarter than any of these people, my little voice in back of my head keeps telling me I could be wrong. At least it seems I have that going for me more than those I observe. Unfortunately 2021 will probably be worst.

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    • TP is a tough one. There’s no question that a positive attitude can take one farther than a negative one and we all like to believe our positive comments are helpful. It becomes an issue when you consistently minimize someone’s concerns or pain. If I express concern that I’ve used up 60% of my budget for transportation due to covid-related price hikes by Uber, it’s not okay to say “Well it’s still cheaper than owning a car.” How does that help in any way? It’s patronizing and insensitive, especially given I could never afford a car! Or telling someone who’s lost a beloved pet “Oh, it’s just a dog. You can get another.” or “At least you have job.” To a person in pain, being on the receiving end of that type of comment, this is just so dismissive. Pain is pain, loss is loss. Making comparisons does nothing, certainly isn’t helpful. As to Covid specifically, I work in a Healthcare field and really have zero patience to deal with people who can’t deal with facts. I hope 2021 won’t be any worse and certainly there’s been a few bright spots already but if someone comes to me and is still depressed and down, I hope I’ll have comfort and kind words for them and not just superficial platitudes.

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