Can positivity sometimes be unhelpful?

12 Nov 2021

In the last decade there has been a big emphasis on being positive all the time.

I wrote a blog years ago, ‘Do we always have to accentuate the positive?’

I have had a problem with this and now I am reading articles that agree with me, that in some instances being over positive is not appropriate or even helpful.

How can positivity be extreme you may ask? Positivity has a time and place, and if ill-timed or relied on in an inappropriate situation, positivity has the potential to be dangerous.

However, it can be harmful to relationships, particularly when a person is struggling, and their partner pushes them to “Look on the bright side” without listening to what they are feeling.


A friend has serious problems with her eyes, yet people often tell to think of others and to be happy, so she feels her problem is minimised. Sometimes my friend just wants people to accept something is bad and sit with her.


After the fires people said to me a week later, you are so lucky to be alive and you should be grateful you only lost things. I was alive and grateful but just to have someone acknowledge the loss I felt would be better than being told move on and be happy. I know when someone is sick or grieving people don’t know what to say but just saying to someone you don’t know what to say is honest.

I see myself as a realist not negative. I don’t want to be dismissed when I tell people how I feel. I feel positivity has a role but now they call it toxic positivity when people are not listening or acknowledging someone’s pain but just saying being positive will make things better.

What do you think? 

Are ok when someone tells you to look at what you have and not to complain? Or do you find, when you are telling people how you are feeling that they don’t listen and tell you to be grateful, that you get annoyed.

Have you any examples of excessive positivity or inappropriate positivity that people have said to you?


A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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