Toxic Positivity & Grief

Toxic positivity. Just no.

People who constantly try to make you see the silver lining on every dark cloud. They're frustrating and I find them really annoying.

They often use the phrase "at least..."

...At least he had a good life...

...At least you found each other...

...At least you can marry again...


You probably know at least one person who refuses to allow any negative thoughts to pass their lips, and gives you an "at least" if they pass yours.

I am all for positivity. Totally. I am always trying to be grateful for what I had and what I have now, I have the life he was deprived of, so I try to live my life for us both, but that doesn't mean my loss or my grief can be diminished and brushed aside with this need to be constantly positive. Negative emotions are ok and allowed.

I have a friend who lost one triplet during childbirth, she is frequently told to be grateful the other two survived........ those words are just toxic.

Allow your grief to sit alongside your positivity. There is enough room for everything.

Helping Others Understand

Hello supportive person. I am glad you are reading this. I hope you read the above, and thought to yourself, no that's not me. If it is, we have some work to do, but you can change :)

As humans, we like to see the good in everything, we all know what it's like to have that mood hoover of a friend, that no matter what you say, they can always find the black cloud in EVERYTHING. It's tough right?

So flip that on its head. Imagine the person that no matter what you say to them, they always have to make something positive from it.

My dad has died.

At least he had a good innings, he lived a good life.

My husband has died.

At least he had the chance to live a life. Think of all the babies who die of cancer.

My wife has died.

At least she isn't in pain now.

This could go on and on, but each one will leave a griever and their inner voice wanting to scream and shout at you, because they just wanted your to acknowledge their loss and their pain. You don't have to have answers for them, they just want and need to be heard.

We're human, we're clever, we know stuff, and we like to share this knowledge, but guess what, a griever doesn't need any of that. At the end of the day, you don't understand how they feel because you're not living their grief experience. You might have had your own experience, but it isn't the same as theirs, no experience is the same, and we just have to be mindful that we tell them we understand, because we don't. You might "get it", but that's different.

Telling them you don't know what to say is always a wonderful thing to say, and adding that you're there for them. Give them a hug, help with shopping or tidying up, the smallest of gestures are really appreciated.

Just be there, be present, be kind, and listen. It means so much more than we can ever tell you.

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