The Financial Cost of Toxic Positivity

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Positive thinking about money can be beneficial. But it can be harmful if it suppresses our emotions or avoids financial realities. This dark side of being positive is described in a Psychotherapy Today article referencing a book titled Toxic Positivity by psychotherapist Whitney Goodman.

Toxic positivity is the belief that we should always remain upbeat, even during tough times. This can be a way to deny or avoid unpleasant realities. It can lead us to say well-intentioned but harmful things like "Don't cry!" or "Time heals all wounds," which invalidate someone’s genuine feelings.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you might be caught up in toxic positivity:

  • When you feel emotions like sadness or fear, do you immediately try to cheer up or focus on the bright side?
  • If you're dissatisfied with something in your life such as your salary level, do you feel guilty for not being grateful enough for what you have?
  • When your loved ones are upset, do you try to cheer them up, even if they haven't asked for it?
  • Do you often use phrases like "everything happens for a reason," "try to find the positive," or "at least it's not as bad as it could be" to help others feel better?