Social Media & Toxic Positivity – The Inevitable.

I’ve been away from social media for more than a month, especially because of how toxic it quickly became. Each day brought new dramas, new levels of insensitivity, but there were particularly two posts that kicked me in my head. While I don’t doubt that these were probably done with the best of intentions, I feel that to say these and accuse people of being unwilling to do things for their own selves as a blanket statement ground my gears to no end. Even now, as I look back at them, I sigh and shake my head because of how insensitively rough they are.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you must be rough and raw. But it has got to be within the confines of compassion. Take that away and what have you left but a tendency to turn a blind eye to the feelings and emotions of others and causing them unintentional but obvious hurt.

The first was this line from a Naval Ravikant book:

The only thing that will make you happy is choosing to be happy.

Okay. Cool. This is trying to put the power in our hands by saying that we can do this. But many-a-times, we don’t choose sadness and pain. They happen and so powerfully that they render us incapable of doing anything, leave alone choosing happiness and choosing to smile. I’m not dissing this concept. I’m just saying that it cannot be a blanket statement because it does not take into consideration everyone’s psychological state. It just says, “If you’re unhappy, that’s on you. Just be happy. It’s not that difficult.” Do you see where this goes wrong? And on so many levels too. I mean, I’m in awe of people who have this level of willpower but come on!

The second was an Instagram post by someone who I don’t follow but some of my mutuals do. This person went on a whole new rant talking (not exactly in these words) about how social media had become a depressing place, how the more you scroll people seemed to be lamenting and sharing sad stuff, how we need positivity on our timelines, and how people seemed to have turned into morbid creatures of competition who posted their sadness online in a bid to outdo someone else’s pain.

While I do agree that social media has become that, I must disagree in the way it was written. It was condescending and got me thinking about how expectations from social media are so far removed from our likes and dislikes. When we see bright colors and happy faces on social media, we think, “Oh, that’s so fake! No one is that happy!” When we see people sharing their pain, we start off with, “Oh, stop being so morbid!”

Tell me this: WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Because in my opinion, sharing one’s pain online is cathartic for quite a huge number of people. They find companionship in the fact that there are others like them. It helps them feel less alone. It helps them sit up a bit straighter and the love and compassion that they receive wraps them in a warm embrace, something that they really need in the moment. If you don’t like it, just scroll. Don’t condescend on people who are just trying to make sure their lives are a tiny bit easier. Agreed, there might be many people who do it for the heck of it, I don’t know. But don’t belittle the people who are genuinely looking for companionship and people to share their pain.

Unfortunately, these are two sad, insensitive pillars of social media: ‘Be happy!’ and ‘Don’t share your pain online!’ Toxic positivity helps no one and to see it thrown around like it isn’t harming people pains my heart to no end. It turned my state of mind into something worse, prompting an unplanned break from social media and a heavy identity crisis, and I’m still not 100% recovered from it all.

Given, we probably shouldn’t attach such importance to what’s said on here, but that’s exactly why I do. Because while I say, “I won’t pay much heed,” and go on to share whatever I want to, someone else arrives on the scene and berates people like me by paying that exact amount of heed and blowing it all up. Practice what you preach, no?

Anyway, that seemed to me a long rant and a long pending one at that. I’m glad I’ve gotten it out of my system because this was really needed for me to keep my head.

I’ll see you soon in a new blog post.

Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life!

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