Screw “Good Vibes Only” and Toxic Positivity

You might be looking at this post with the big “SCREW good vibes only” image and be confused. Doesn’t someone one who loves joy also preach the value of good vibes. Yes! Yes I do! I love me some good vibes.

The thing here? when you start pushing the “good vibes ONLY” thing, it’s really toxic positivity. It’s pushing away the other “feels” – the hurt, the sadness, the overwhelm, the grief. Because like it or not, there’s no such thing as good vibes only in real life.

There’s no way you can force your way into joy just by pushing aside all of the other things you feel and ignoring them.

On the other hand, you likely know that I talk a lot about the Henri Nouwen quote, “Joy is a choice and we must keep choosing it everyday.” That’s right. Choose it. Embrace it. Work hard at getting back to joy. It’s a mindful activity and a path. But just like any kind of joy Jedi, you’re also going to be met with other emotions, other realities, and possibly other mental health issues – and you get to choose how you react to to those things.

And you also have to acknowledge that there are going to be days that are super hard, not going to feel joyful and are going to suck. When people get too far down the path of “you can be joyful if you just want to be” or “good vibes only,” it doesn’t honor that mental illness is real and that navigating some situations takes the support of professionals or possibly medication.

And there’s no shame in this. And if you feel like you’re having a hard time getting back in touch with what makes you happy, it’s time to reach out for help. Find a therapist or a coach. Download an app to be connected with a therapist. Call your physician, talk to a friend … but make sure that you reach out.

I feel that sometimes the good vibes only thing sets people up to feel like, “well, if I just think enough happy thoughts, then I should be able to get out of this thing by myself.”

And I want you to know you’re not alone and that there, that it’s okay to ask for help. I do believe that you can get yourself into a place where joyfulness can be a mindful practice.

And, I know that it isn’t always “good vibes only.”