Mental Health

Toxic Positivity as a Coping Mechanism

My whole life – I’ve been known as the happy one, the positive one, the glass-half-full one, a positive Polly. I’m known to tell people to love themselves fiercely and that anything could always be worse. I’m an uplifter. I like making people happy. I get so excited about the smallest things – and I love sharing my ideas and thoughts with great enthusiasm. But with all of those things that I actually love about myself, come with a few problems. I fear confrontation. I fear unpleasant emotions. If I don’t stay hyper-vigilant about my self-awareness, I will defend and distract myself from anything that I don’t want to deal with.

I built the foundation of my life on only looking at the positive side of everything, and that sounds great… except when I was faced with hard emotions, internal struggles, uncomfortable conversations, pain, or insecurity of any form. I trained myself to be so positive that I basically became fake. I lived numb and at a comfortable distance from anything that could “ruin my vibe.” But what I’ve learned, since opening the floodgates of human emotion is that I now feel everything, DEEPLY. I want to help and heal everyone around me. I still want to be positive and uplift those around me – but I’ve also learned to encourage people that you have to feel your pain in order to get through it. You can’t skip it. You can’t avoid it. You can’t distract yourself forever. And trust me, this isn’t a quick lesson. It’s something I still struggle with every single day.

Unlearning old behaviors is hard enough, and having to teach yourself new ones as an adult is even harder. But there is hope if you allow it.

Imagine yourself as a living house – God comes in to rebuild that house. At first perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew those jobs needed doing, so you aren’t surprised. But then, He starts knocking parts of the house down in a way that hurts – and that doesn’t seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one that you imagined for yourself – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but He is building a palace, and He intends to come in and live there Himself.

No matter where you are in life reading this, I cannot tell you what this season will bring out of you… but I can tell you that it matters to keep showing up every day. I can tell you that it matters to give love, even though you do not always think you are good enough. Your presence matters, even in this chapter. Even if you feel overlooked, alone, or far from home. You belong in this life just as much as anyone else, no matter how others see you, or how you see yourself. Whether you are having the most productive week or you feel like you are falling apart at the seams, there are signs of strength and movement with every breath you breathe. So take heart, breathe deep… even before things fall in place. For even here, in these unknowns, you are wrapped in endless, boundless grace.

It’s okay to be ridiculously excited about your dreams and talk to God about them. But it’s also okay to be a mess with God, and to cry and yell and be broken before him. Let Him be the first one you run to with both anxious thoughts and excited gratefulness. You wouldn’t plant a seed and then dig it up every few minutes to see if it has grown. So why do you keep questioning your hard work and progress? Have patience, stop overthinking, and keep watering your seeds.

I’m still a kid at heart. I’m still an overly happy person. I still look for the glass half full. But I’ve had to allow God to completely break me and strip me of so many positively camouflaged coping mechanisms in order for me to get to this point of self-realization… and sadly, I can’t even tell you that I’ve 100% mastered it. But the realization is the first step.

I have to put in the work to remind myself of this every. single. day.

It’s okay to feel, and there are people who will listen. But you have to keep showing up for yourself, every day.

Whoever you are, I love you and God loves you. Keep going.

Until next time,



One thought on “Toxic Positivity as a Coping Mechanism

  1. Love your article about Portsmouth! Many overlook it and head to the beach or Norfolk instead. Momac is our favorite brewery and we always hit it when we go to Portsmouth!! Great highlights of things to do !

Leave a Reply