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Embracing Authenticity: Overcoming Toxic Positivity

Toxic Positivity

Embracing Authenticity: Overcoming Toxic Positivity

In this empowering episode, we explore the hidden dangers of toxic positivity and its impact on women's mental health. Join Randi Owsley, LMSW and Jessica Bullwinkle, LMFT, two licensed psychotherapists with 22 years of expertise in the women's mental health field, as they delve into strategies to combat toxic positivity, emotional intelligence, and finding balance in self-care. Whether you're a woman seeking mental health resources or simply looking to improve your emotional well-being, this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in breaking free from forced positivity and embracing genuine growth.

Discover the ins and outs of understanding toxic positivity, and learn more about the coping skills and tools you can use to overcome its negative effects. Find valuable resources to help manage toxic positivity in the workplace, as well as strategies to combat its impact on relationships and social media interactions. By enhancing your emotional intelligence and building resilience against toxic positivity, you can foster personal growth and healing from its harmful consequences. Embrace a more balanced and authentic approach to positivity, paving the way for a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Topics We Talk About:

What is toxic positivity?

Toxic positivity is the excessive and harmful insistence on maintaining a positive attitude, often dismissing or invalidating genuine emotions and experiences.

How does toxic positivity affect mental health?

Toxic positivity can negatively impact mental health by invalidating feelings, causing emotional suppression, and creating a sense of guilt or shame for experiencing negative emotions.

What are some examples of toxic positivity?

Examples of toxic positivity include dismissing someone's concerns with phrases like “just stay positive” or “everything happens for a reason,” ignoring or minimizing someone's emotional pain, and encouraging others to “look on the bright side” without acknowledging their feelings.

How can I recognize toxic positivity in relationships?

Toxic positivity in relationships may manifest as a partner dismissing your emotions, constantly insisting on positivity, or making you feel guilty for expressing negative feelings.

What is the difference between toxic positivity and genuine positivity?

Genuine positivity involves acknowledging and accepting all emotions, both positive and negative, and finding healthy ways to cope with them.

How can I avoid toxic positivity in the workplace?

To avoid toxic positivity in the workplace, foster a supportive and empathetic environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their emotions.

What are some strategies to combat toxic positivity?

Strategies to combat toxic positivity include practicing self-awareness, acknowledging and validating all emotions, seeking support from a mental health professional, setting boundaries, and promoting healthy coping mechanisms.

How does toxic positivity affect emotional intelligence?

Toxic positivity can hinder emotional intelligence by preventing individuals from recognizing, understanding, and managing their emotions effectively.

How can I heal from toxic positivity?

Healing from toxic positivity involves acknowledging and validating your emotions, seeking support from a mental health professional, practicing self-compassion, and embracing authentic positivity that allows for a full range of emotional experiences.

How can I build resilience against toxic positivity?

Building resilience against toxic positivity involves developing self-awareness, fostering emotional intelligence, setting boundaries with others, and cultivating a balanced approach to positivity that acknowledges both positive and negative emotions.

Stay tuned for our upcoming podcasts, where we'll delve into a variety of essential topics that aim to empower women and promote mental wellness. We'll explore overcoming toxic positivity, embracing authentic positivity for women, and understanding the impact of toxic positivity in relationships and the workplace. Our discussions will also focus on achieving emotional balance, practicing self-care to avoid toxic positivity, and fostering female empowerment through genuine positivity. These enlightening episodes aim to provide valuable insights, strategies, and support for women seeking a healthier, more authentic approach to positivity in their daily lives.

Ways to Unwind and Relax

Meditative, Relaxing, Mental Health Coloring books developed by licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley and Jessica Bullwinkle – Available on Amazon Today!


[00:00:00] Randi: 1, 2, 3, 4, hi friends. It's Randy and Jess. And we're gonna cut the bullshit.

[00:00:06] Jess: And let's get into women's mental health.

[00:00:12] Randi: Episode five toxic positivity. It is okay to not be okay. 

[00:00:19] Jess: Is your favorite Instagram influencers, positive vibes making you feel like crap? We talk about it in this episode. 

[00:00:25] Randi: We'll explore things that make toxic positivity, so damaging how it can harm our mental and emotional health, what we can do about it, how to recognize it and how to address it with others.

I have boundaries bitch. 

[00:00:38] Jess: And how you can find a balance with owning your feelings reality, and still find the fucking bright side. If there is one and believe me there doesn't have to be one. 

[00:00:47] Randi: Have you ever thought.

[00:00:49] Jess: And then someone responds with. 

My week sucked, 

[00:00:52] Randi: but at least you got your hair. 

[00:00:54] Jess: I hate my job right now.

[00:00:55] Randi: Look at the bright side. You can still pay your bills. 

[00:00:58] Jess: I'm really unhappy in my life, 

[00:01:00] Randi: but you have a great life and family. 

[00:01:02] Jess: When life hands you lemons make lemonade. 

[00:01:04] Randi: Where's the fucking vodka for that shitty lemonade. 

[00:01:08] Jess: The good vibes only shit that we see everywhere. 

[00:01:10] Randi: So why are we pushing people to feel something they don't don't be so negative.

[00:01:15] Jess: It could be worse. 

[00:01:17] Randi: If I can do it, you can do it.

[00:01:19] Jess: Oh my gosh. And that's the other one too is, oh, if you can do it, I can do it. 

[00:01:23] Randi: Failure is not an option, 

[00:01:25] Jess: blah, blah, blah. 

[00:01:27] Randi: So what is toxic positivity? 

[00:01:30] Jess: Toxic positivity is the message preached to you by others, media and society that says get over it. Be grateful, positive thinking, cheerfulness and other things that are not helpful or realistic.

[00:01:43] Randi: These messages often can end up making us feel like we're wrong for our feelings. When we do feel negative or overwhelmed with life, it creates more toxic emotions than actually addressing the emotion itself. 

[00:01:59] Jess: It's the excessive and unrealistic promotion of positive thinking and emotions, right. To the point where we ignore or dismiss any negative thoughts or emotions. Right. And let's be honest, it's not based in reality.

[00:02:12] Randi: Right. You're not gonna be like good vibes only 24 7. Like maybe if you're high, but like, no. 

[00:02:19] Jess: Well, are those really good vibes? I mean, come on. 

[00:02:21] Randi: No. Yeah, those are like, you're creating those vibes, right? So it's like, you're pushing same thing. You're not recognizing your emotions in that state, whether it's false positivity, toxic positivity.

[00:02:32] Jess: Well, and it's not that you are not recognizing it it's that somebody else isn't allowing you to recognize it. And that's, what's really fucked up about this is that if you are saying I'm having a shitty day and then someone says, let's look on the bright side. But I don't want to, I, there is something about sitting in this emotion right now. I mean, really, truly, I don't know why we don't sit with people in their emotions. 

[00:02:55] Randi: Right? Life is hard. It's fucked up at times. It's messy. It's sad. It can be dark. I mean, it can also be wonderful and amazing. And. just fill you up, but it can also be really horrible. 

[00:03:11] Jess: Right. And it's never a hundred percent, always one way or another.

And that's what I always try to tell people is that you can be both things at the same time. And if we can be both things at the same time, why are we forced to be positive all the time versus saying, Hey, today's really fucked up.

[00:03:28] Randi: We're forced to constantly put on an appearance. I feel especially as women.

[00:03:33] Jess: Yep.

[00:03:33] Randi: That everything is okay all the time. Like when people ask you, like, how are you doing? How do you reply? I'm okay. I'm, 

[00:03:40] Jess: I'm great. How are great? 

[00:03:42] Randi: Like, do we actually say like, I'm having a really bad day sometimes, especially if it's people like we don't really know and I feel like that is a pressure that we face all the time that nothing should be bothering us. And in that, that can create loops of anxiety and depression, because we're not allowing ourselves to express any type of negative emotion. We need to forget that shit. 

[00:04:09] Jess: Can you imagine if you're at the grocery store and somebody says, how you doing? You're like, I'm having a really shitty day and you. 

[00:04:14] Randi: I think that would be amazing. Amazing to do right. We should practice that this week. 

[00:04:19] Jess: Well, no, I think we will. If we're having a bad day, be like, huh, it's kind of a shitty day today. What, what, how's it going with you? 

[00:04:24] Randi: Right. We need to feel our feelings so we can deal with them. Because there's so much stuff going on around us, in our minds and in the world as a whole, we're just not allowing ourselves to feel and deal with any of it.

[00:04:37] Jess: Well, and let's be real sometimes right now, especially stuff going on in the news stuff going on in politics, it's kind of crappy right now. Really hard to be like, oh, everything is super positive right now when you're like, did you see just what happened? Right. Like two weeks ago, did you see all that stuff happening? And what's going on right now? 

[00:04:53] Randi: And you feel like gut wrenched, your heart's broken. Like why. Do we have to force all that down. Why are we not allowed to be outraged or hurt or speak on it? 

[00:05:05] Jess: Well, and it's almost like, why can we not allow people to feel that way? And that's, what's interesting is as, as therapists, we are taught and we learn, and we love to sit in the moment with people and it's hard and maybe that's what it is. Right. It's it's hard. 

[00:05:19] Randi: It is. It's hard. It's and that's why I feel like we don't because we do, we repress and suppress. Things over and over again, because it's just so hard sometimes. 

[00:05:33] Jess: Or I think sometimes we also think that people can't take it and you know why they can't. 

[00:05:38] Randi: Handle it, or they won't like us as much or they'll run away.

[00:05:42] Jess: Well, but they do right. 

[00:05:43] Randi: I mean, it do. 

[00:05:44] Jess: It's the same way we deal with death in our society. Right. I'm getting so sidetracked again, but I know it's. 

[00:05:48] Randi: Squirrel squirrel.

[00:05:49] Jess: Is that, you know, we don't know how to deal with it. We say, sorry for your loss. 

[00:05:53] Randi: I did lose a lot of friends when my mom died, because they didn't know how to approach me in my grief.

[00:05:58] Jess: They don't, and they didn't know how to sit with you. 

[00:06:00] Randi: Or like it brought up their own, you know, trauma and stuff with it. So they just backed away from it. And, um, you know, that's a problem on both end. 

[00:06:10] Jess: Absolutely toxic positivity. It drives me bonkers, bonkers, bonkers, right? Mm-hmm so what are some alternatives to talk toxic positivity.

[00:06:18] Randi: So we need to find a more balanced approach to embracing good and bad side by side and allowing ourselves to feel a range of emotions, whether that is happy, bad, angry, irritated, love, whatever it is, good or bad, and just without judgment. 

[00:06:38] Jess: And not judging others, allowing them to say, how's your day. It's pretty shitty. Hey, I'm sorry to hear that. Right. 

[00:06:43] Randi: And that's okay. And like, Being like, oh, I shouldn't be around that person because they're so negative all the time. Like being like, okay, that's a one, that's their moment right now that it's shitty for them in that day, that time period, that week, whatever it is, whatever going on with them and being more accepting and compassionate of that. 

[00:07:04] Jess: And not just of them, but towards yourself and others. Mm-hmm and you know, what's really interesting. If you don't know how to respond to somebody, it's okay to say, gosh, I don't know how to respond to that. 

[00:07:15] Randi: Right. Or what do you need for me? Oh God, that's a great one. Right? Like what are you looking for me? Or how can I support you in this? I don't know. And I've used that with friends before, like, I don't know anything about this, but how can I support you how can I be there for you? What do you need? Just tell me. 

[00:07:34] Jess: Well, and sometimes we don't know, and sometimes it's just sit with them, which is hard because people don't know how to do that. 

[00:07:38] Randi: Right. You can sit in silence with somebody too. You don't have to have all the answers or give them direction. And you're right. Like we don't know sometimes how to just sit and be still.

[00:07:49] Jess: We don't know how to give the answers, but that's what toxic positivity is. Right. And this is why it's a problem. Yeah. 

[00:07:55] Randi: Right. Because it's giving us a solution or a solution that we should all have. 

And what it's doing, is it denying or invalidating that somebody's authentic experience of negative emotions and all that does is leads to feelings of shame, isolation and despair.

[00:08:13] Jess: Right? Right. I mean, you talked about earlier, you lost a lot of friends, you were isolated because they didn't know how to when your. 

[00:08:18] Randi: Mom died, because I wasn't my normal happy self. And I wasn't willing at that point to suppress. My emotions, I needed to deal with them. And so that I could heal. And if I had suppress that it would've caused other issues.

[00:08:36] Jess: Well, and you shouldn't have to suppress that your mother died. And that's what happened, right? Right. Why should we be happy when something horrible has happened? We shouldn't have to be. 

[00:08:45] Randi: With forcing this toxic positivity culture. It can impact our health. 

[00:08:51] Jess: Right off the top. Right? It, it leads to shame. And again, we talked about isolation, um, and it, which is huge, huge, right. But it leads to shame and isolation, uh, suppressing your own emotions. I mean, how many times have you been said don't cry. Don't cry. Suck it up. Right? Suck it up. Buttercup. Suck it up. right. Suck it up. Buttercup. 

[00:09:12] Randi: I have, I have a sticker on my thing. It's you chin up buttercup. You get knocked down. Just get back up again.

[00:09:17] Jess: Well, sometimes it's an nearly impossible to get back up and it's okay. To feel that and to ask somebody like, I need help getting back up. And when I feel like we suppress those things and internalize things like that, it leads to other things like then not sleeping well, or like not eating well or creating more depression and anxiety and sometimes even suicidal thoughts or cutting and things like that because you're so full of all these things and you.

you're not allowed to feel them and you need an outlet for 

them. I mean, how many times growing up, I heard pull yourself up, buy your bootstraps. Mm-hmm right. I don't even know what that means. Right. I don't. Right. But I know it means suck it up. Yeah. Pull yourself up, buy your boot straps or, you know, get back on that bicycle.

What does that mean? Why, why do 

we keep your kids? You get knocked down, like just get back up. Like, well, sometimes. Is on the floor and you're knocked out, you know, TKO or whatever. Like, and you're like, , I'm not getting back up from this right. This moment. 

And sometimes it really hurts. You're like, no, no, I think I'm hurt.

I I'm gonna sit here for a minute. Cuz I'm hurt. And this, this 

just hurts. Mm-hmm sports cultures. It's very much a huge thing. Like you just power through. Just get through, even if there's pain and that's like a lot of athletes and stuff, like ignore. Things like concussions or like strains or things like that.

And then it ends up injuring them in the long run and then their careers are cut short. You know, so not only like on emotionally level, but like a physical level too, that can lead to a lot of like health issues and strains and stuff on our bodies. Well, 

because what we're doing is we're keeping silent about our struggles and as women, we are taught to keep silent about our struggles.

And we've talked about it so many times where we look great on social media. And so nobody talks about it, cuz we're not showing our struggles. We're not showing the days that we're, we feel like crap or we're not showing. We have nothing to wear because nothing fits us right now. And 

I think we very much, you know, like Pinterest, Instagram, like it's flooded with quotes self-care and like this, that, and the other, which can be good when you're seeing that like 24 7, same thing.

That's a lot. I should be good vibes. 24 7, make life outta lemonades, blah, blah, blah. Like all the time. And you're like F this shit. So what are some signs that we see? That we might be having toxic positivity. 

Okay. So the big one, the main one is if you are hiding or masking your true feeling again, if somebody says how's your day and you're like, that's great.

How are you? 

and inside you're thinking like, oh my God, my whole world is falling apart right now. 

Somebody has died or I think I'm gonna lose my job, or I'm really struggling. What's going on with the world today. 

Another sign could be like getting on with it, dismissing an emotion. Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss.

And then you're like, yeah, yeah. Kind of like, Hmm. I mean, sometimes maybe that's fine if you don't want to talk about it, but if you really are feeling the. to talk about it and be supported in that, then say 

that well, and that's that whole fake it till you make it right, right. Just fake it till you make it.

Eventually you'll get there. 

[00:12:30] Randi: Right. And it's like, what if you don't, then you've created this unrealistic goal for yourself that you're never gonna achieve. And then you're gonna feel like crap afterwards. 

[00:12:39] Jess: And what that causes is feeling guilty for the feeling, what you feel like I. Feel it's incongruent.

So you're like, I feel guilty cuz I don't feel the way I'm saying I feel right. 

[00:12:50] Randi: I don't feel happy right now, but like everybody thinks I should be happy. Why am I not feeling happy now? I feel guilt over not feeling happy now I feel shame over not feeling happy. And then you're creating. Again, this vortex that sucking you like down into this pit.

And you're like, how do I get out of this? 

[00:13:08] Jess: Well, and you know, I see a lot of that with again, new moms, right? We talk, I talk about mamas a lot, right? Mm-hmm becoming a mom is such a hard thing, and it's such a weird thing that we do as society. Right? You go in pregnant, you come out a. And sometimes people feel guilty because they're like, I'm really struggling with this and I feel bad, but I wanted this baby so much.

Or, you know, people who struggle with infertility that this is really hard, but I shouldn't complain because I tried really hard or I paid a lot of money to get here. Doesn't validate that. No, no, this is just really hard. And you're 

[00:13:42] Randi: struggling. Exactly. And especially since struggled on both ends with infertility and.

Being a mother and stuff too. And people also like minimizing your feelings and stuff about it. Like, well, this worked for me and this, and so you should feel this. And it's like, no, that was your journey. And this is mine completely different. And it was like, I realized that too, in my own struggles, like I struggled for nine years with infertility, my sister struggled for six months and she was like really, really, really upset about it.

And I was thinking, love you. 

[00:14:17] Jess: Right. Nine years 

[00:14:18] Randi: month, I went through nine years of this. You went through and I was like, no, that's how she feels. Yep. Okay. And she doesn't know how I feel because she did not have to struggle with nine years of it. And eventually I had to tell her that was really hard for me because I did struggle so much longer than you, but that doesn.

Invalidate the way you felt in that moment. Mm-hmm , you know, like who am I to say that my feelings are bigger and deeper and harder than hers? And I was putting my feelings about it onto her. And like, she didn't know that, you know, we can't expect everybody to understand like our mind and our frame and be sensitive to us 24 7.

[00:14:58] Jess: And a lot of times people will minimize. Other struggles with these feel good statements or quotes that we see everywhere. Mm-hmm just like your, you know, chin up buttercup sticker. Right. It could be worse. Oh, it could be worse, right. Worse. And a lot of that, it it's just invalidating. Right. 

[00:15:15] Randi: Right. And then it's, you're chastising basically others for.

Expressing their emotion. And then they're not gonna come to you and talk to you about that too. If you say that. I think about that too. When like talking to my kids and stuff, if I tell them, suck it up or like deal with it, are they gonna come. Back to me and talk to me about something else. Probably not.

If I shut that door over and over again, so that can be harmful to like relationships with friends or children. 

[00:15:42] Jess: Well, and what people don't realize is that when you do that, you're saying I can't handle what you are saying. And it's really truly about the other person. It's about whoever is dismissing you.

What you're saying is invalid to me. It's like when people say, oh, but they're starving children in some world or, oh, you know, these people in this country have it a lot worse than you do. And people do that to themselves. Of I'm having a really bad day. I'm struggling in my marriage. I know I shouldn't because this is what's happening in the other world.

It's like, Yeah, that is still 

[00:16:12] Randi: happening or so, and so's marriage was worse because of this. So I should stay in this situation because it's not as bad. Do you see where, like these thoughts lead to be very detrimental to like your, uh, wellbeing? 

[00:16:26] Jess: I'm gonna squirrel again, is that women think like that all the time saying, well, he doesn't hit me.

Oh gosh. He's not abusive. He there's nothing physical going on. But the 

[00:16:34] Randi: emotional abuse sometimes is so, so, so horrid. 

[00:16:38] Jess: Right. But he doesn't beat me. 

[00:16:40] Randi: Right. So he is never put his hands on me. 

[00:16:43] Jess: Yeah. I mean, that is 

[00:16:44] Randi: not validating internal scars from emotional abuse are much worse. 

[00:16:49] Jess: Right. And it's not validating.

Right. What is really happening with you or your life? Right. If you're like, no, but you know, he controls the money or he won't let me see my friends or. Whatever is 

[00:17:00] Randi: going through. You'll be honest again. And that's part of why positivity can be so toxic. 

[00:17:06] Jess: We wanna go through and let's do some examples of like a non-toxic and accepting statement.

Okay. So a toxic positivity state positive. 

[00:17:15] Randi: So a non-toxic and validating statement would be like, I hear you tell me more. 

[00:17:20] Jess: Oh, that's always in therapy. I said that. Tell me more. I wanna know more. Yeah. Right. Or just like, I 

[00:17:25] Randi: hear you. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Hear you. How powerful is that statement? I hear you. Yeah.


[00:17:33] Jess: I'm here. I'm here. I'm here. I'm sitting, you know me? I'm sitting on your couch in my jams, but I'm here. I'm here. Yes, I'm here. How about the, don't worry. Be happy. Remember that song was at nineties. 

[00:17:44] Randi: Uh, yeah, don't worry. Be happy. Like it is okay to be upset or how can I help you? Yeah. 

[00:17:53] Jess: Oh, the big one.

Failure is not an option. Sometimes 

[00:17:56] Randi: we fail. It is part of growing. And I always say that to my kids too, mistakes actually make you grow and you become better and better because of that. Learn from your mistakes. Not failure is not an 

[00:18:08] Jess: option. Some kids, they have to make the mistakes to learn. Right. Right.

I think our house is like that. We tried to make a cake the other day. Well, one. Actually, no, we were trying to make brownies, but I pulled out a cake mix. She made the cake mix and I was like, well, what can we. Because we've got this cake now and she's like, oh, Ooh, we can top it with the butter thing from last week because we forgot to put sugar in the butter.

So we just had flavored butter. right. So it's like, great. Now we can go ahead and make it real whipped cream or frosting. Yeah. And so we are able to, to learn to go, okay, this isn't a complete failure to pivot. What can we make out of 

[00:18:41] Randi: this? Mm-hmm another toxic statement. Like everything will work out in the end.

Well, okay. What's that? What's the end. Right. 

[00:18:48] Jess: Is that death? What is the end? When, when something ends? How about just saying like, God, this sounds really fucking tough right now. Right? I don't even know what to do. This is so tough. The 

[00:18:56] Randi: positive vibes. Good vibes. Just feel great. Instead of saying that you could say 

[00:19:02] Jess: I'm here for you.

Good and bad. Oh my God. Can you imagine if we had shirts to say I'm here for you? Good and bad. What would that, what would people even respond to that? Think we should go make 

[00:19:11] Randi: some, yeah, we should. That's a good idea. Or like this one, like you said, this one is like so hard for you too. If you can do it. So can I, oh, I 

[00:19:21] Jess: hate that.

No, we are all different and it's okay to be where you are. That is such a big, well, if you can do it, so can I, and you're like, wait, what, what does that mean? A lot 

[00:19:32] Randi: of people think that too, like about like my other business and they don't realize like how hard it is and same thing. I think people sometimes think.

About us too, like as therapist and it's like, you don't. All that we've gone through all the education that we've been put through and that we've done like two years of like free work, like under that, like interning and things like that to like, get where we're at. Like we've put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

And same thing. People think like, oh, like you, you know, have like a social media company and like, anybody can do that. And I'm like, it's not as easy as it looks 

[00:20:08] Jess: well, and it, and it's not. Right. Right. And what they also is going back to therapists is that we can sit with people because we've had training mm-hmm and that it's still hard for us, but we still do it.

And so again, you know, I'm always saying, go to therapy, go to therapy. If you have people that can't validate you or sit with. Get a therapist that can, yeah. And if you have a therapist that keeps trying to flip it into lemonade, find a different therapist. 

[00:20:32] Randi: Exactly. You want somebody that can sit with you, hear you.

Validate you and see you. And if somebody's telling you to all the time, like you're so negative sometimes. Yeah. Cuz life is hard. So something in response to that you could say would be it's okay to have 

[00:20:49] Jess: a bad day mm-hmm and if they keep telling you you're negative. Go find different friends, a favorite 

[00:20:54] Randi: one that everybody loves to say everything happens 

[00:20:57] Jess: per a reason.

What the fuck is that reason? I mean, I'd like to know. Can you tell me, 

[00:21:01] Randi: can you pinpoint it 

[00:21:02] Jess: right? That's like the, when one door opens or no one door closes another one, another one open. How about, what can I do to support you? That 

[00:21:09] Randi: really sucks. It just sucks. Or I'm sorry that that happened to. Like, instead of it could be work.

How do we 

[00:21:15] Jess: address someone who responds constantly with the toxic positivity? 

[00:21:20] Randi: That can be really hard because you have already taken a step in being vulnerable and like talking about how you're feeling. And so if you wanna talk about it and you feel like you can't trust them, where do you go? Like, how do you, so you almost need to like, practice that to find out how it could work.

[00:21:38] Jess: Oh, you know what I think you and I should probably do some practices. So let's try the first one. Um, I do this a lot in, in therapy, right? it's called pausing the conversation. Let's stop the conversation and tell them what you're needing from them. One, I don't know if I've ever been taught, growing up how to tell people what I need from a conversation.

Have you? No. Okay. So let's do the pause, the conversation. 

[00:22:01] Randi: Okay. I am just having like the worst freaking week ever. Like my husband's not listening to me. My kids aren't listening to me work is just a mess. uh, I don't know. I'm just really struggling. And if I'm gonna 

[00:22:16] Jess: go through and say, oh my God, but like, your life looks so great and you have this great house and oh my God, your husband is so supportive of 

[00:22:24] Randi: you.

Right. And then I would be like, let's stop the conversation for a minute. I'm just gonna tell you what I need right now. I need you to hear that I'm having a really rough week. And not what you think my life is like, this is what I'm feeling. It's like right now, that was beautiful by the. Thank you. That was beautiful.


[00:22:48] Jess: you. that was really good. That is really hard to tell someone that though, 

[00:22:52] Randi: right. It is like a friend, even just your spouse or partner too. Like we've had to work on that constantly to say like, we're not mind readers and we're different species, basically. Like we think differently and we have different needs.

And so to say, like, this is what I need in this moment. So you can be very clear and communicate well. Um, and so that's kind of like another thing that you can practice is sharing your wishes up front. 

[00:23:20] Jess: Okay. So if I'm having somebody who is constantly positive and flipping it around mm-hmm , but I wanna talk to them cuz maybe, you know, it's apparent or a good friend.

Right, right. I can say. Hey, you know, one, I like to ask permission, right? Do you have a moment I need to download or do you have time? Because I, I really need to get some things off my chest. 

[00:23:39] Randi: Right? Do you have time to hear me? Oh, that's a good idea with me. Um, or like, this is what I need from you in this moment.

Um, to just sometimes also just hear me. I don't need you to fix the problem. Can you just hear me, right? Oh my God. That's a, just listen to me. Vent. That's 

[00:23:57] Jess: a husband run right there. Mm-hmm mm-hmm I'll say, do you have time? And if he says no, you know, okay, cool. When can I come back? 

[00:24:03] Randi: Or can you make time for me?

Yeah. You know, it's this, like, even if you need to schedule it, you know, if you have super busy 

[00:24:09] Jess: schedules, right. And it really is saying, Hey, I just need you to hear me. I just need to, again, download or brain dump, or I'm really frustrated. I don't need you to fix this. I just need to talk about. You know, cuz I'm just feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

Now what about if somebody we call it like addressing the pattern that is also where I also ask for permission and I'll say, Hey, you know, it's like saying, I, I need to give you some feedback. Can, can you hear it? Because some people are like, yeah, no, 

[00:24:39] Randi: right. They don't wanna hear it or they're not gonna be responsive to it.

So you kind of have to judge like where you're at with that relationship and like how you can approach that person or just say this. Kind of what I noticed and use I statements sometimes that's not always, people still don't hear it when you're saying this is what I need and I'm not trying to change you.

I just want you to know what I'm looking for right now. That can be very difficult. But if it is like somebody like, you know, like a mother or a father or somebody that you see, like this habitual, like pattern noise that they're always just kind of like downplaying. Your emotions. I think that it's good 

[00:25:22] Jess: to address it.

Yeah. Make sure you put the finger at you and it's pointing at you. Right. But it doesn't mean, I think you. That is not an eye statement. Right. I'm feeling frustrated that I am not feeling heard. That is an 

[00:25:36] Randi: eye statement. Like I'm feeling frustrated. You're not listening to me. That's not an eye statement.

No, no, no. Cuz now you've taken the finger because you've taken the finger and pointed at the other person. Even if you really think though 

[00:25:47] Jess: right. But an eye statement is I'm feeling frustrated or I'm upset that I feel unheard. It's another, I statement, 

[00:25:55] Randi: I am feeling. Vulnerable right now. And I need you to make space for me to hear that.

[00:26:04] Jess: Okay. Can I correct that? Yes. I am feeling vulnerable right now. Cause I said you . You did. You said you it's so hard, even as therapist. Super hard. Yeah. I'm feeling vulnerable right now. And what I'm needing is I am needing space to be heard. So everything was pointing back at me, which is so hard when you're feeling, really feeling that.

And again, I talk about it. If you mess up, you point the finger, say, let me rephrase that. Yeah. I'm needing space 

[00:26:31] Randi: to fill her, then pause the conversation. Yes. You can utilize all these together too. If you need to wait, hold up. I'm sorry. I did not mean that. Let me rephrase this more clearly. This is. I 

[00:26:43] Jess: need well, and in going off the ice statements, the reason we really encourage ice statements is because the minute you point a finger at somebody else, right?

I'm pointing the finger. You can see it. the minute you point a finger at somebody else, they're going to get defenses, right? Like defense, defense, defenses are gonna 

[00:26:59] Randi: go up. Their 

[00:27:00] Jess: walls are gonna go up. Their walls are going up and they're not going to hear anything you say anymore, because now it's about them.

[00:27:07] Randi: Right. And. They've tuned it out and they've turned inward and they're like, oh, here we go again. Instead of hearing you, so that's 

[00:27:14] Jess: part of it. Can you own your own feelings and still see the bright side? Because we've talked a lot about like, you can beat two things at once. 

[00:27:21] Randi: Right? We talked about that with the body neutrality and body positivity and episode four, like it doesn't have to be all one way or another.

You can find things that work for you. 

[00:27:34] Jess: Right. So like I talk about like vodka and my lemonade thing wrong with lemons. There's nothing wrong with vodka separately together. It makes a great smashing lemon drop however, you know, not always the time to have a drink. What do we see like in social media where it's the toxic positivity.

I wanna kind of go there for 

[00:27:50] Randi: a sec. So again, like being. Just like we have to portray like this perfect lifestyle, this happy family, this, this rich lifestyle that we can have all these like fine things in life. We're going on vacation all the time and we're going on trips and we're going out to. Eat at like the best restaurants and throwing out the quotes and stuff in there.

That's just like, again, a snippet. It's not the whole thing. You're paraphrasing. That's the same thing in social media, they are paraphrasing their life. You didn't see maybe that it took them like 20 hours to get to that destination and they missed their flight 10 times and that, or that they maxed out their credit card to do that.

Don't do. All these things and you're thinking, wow, this one minute real like of their life is so amazing. And I don't have that. And like, my life sucks and you're like, wait a minute again. It's just a clip. It's just a snapshot. It's just a real, it's not reality. 

[00:28:50] Jess: It was reading a blog a couple of years ago.

It made me laugh. Cuz I talk about family portrait. She shows this picture where they're all smiling and happy on a beach. And she says that was the one moment out of the entire five days. She goes, what you don't see is that for the first three, everybody had stomach. I made them smile for that one picture.

Oh yeah. And then the kids fought for the, the next two 

[00:29:12] Randi: days. We joke about that. Like taking like pictures of our kids and stuff that we're screaming at them while we're screaming at them. We're telling them to smile. Right. And like, that's not genuine. Right. Or like family pictures, like, oh my gosh, this was such a hot mess to get us to smile for the camera for this one picture that we have on our wall for like the rest of our lives picture.

Perfect. No, that's not. 

[00:29:33] Jess: Our oldest came back from, he was transferring bases. Right. Getting ready to go out to Turkey, coming back from Cheyenne mm-hmm he was here for three days. We hadn't had a family picture in like, I don't know, four years. Right. Cuz he was gone. I'm like, let's go do family portraits. He was like, okay.

Okay. This is gonna be so fun. Oh my God. He smiled for all of it, but he was like, I am so anxious. This entire thing was just, I, I don't have time for this mm-hmm and, and I still, I was like, no. Gotta get family pictures. Yeah. We gotta get him on the wall. Yeah. I need this. And I should have heard him and said, you know what?

We don't need these right now. I'm happy. Just taking a picture in our living. and he would've been, felt better. It had, I acknowledged it versus this whole toxic positivity of let's go do family portraits. And like you must smile. Oh my gosh. Yes, you must smile. Actually, my favorite is that my daughter was not smiling.

She was not cooperating and that's what's up on our wall. 

[00:30:28] Randi: It's great because that's reality, you know, and I feel like we need to kind of take that stance with our life and social media and stuff too. And like, we need more influencers and more women and stuff showing like the real and the gritty and the life is not all cherries.

[00:30:47] Jess: Right? It's the shit show stuff. Right. Mm-hmm what are some alternatives to toxic positivity? 

[00:30:52] Randi: Again, I'm gonna always say this mindfulness acknowledge what the situation is. What it's for in the moment and just pause. 

[00:31:03] Jess: Oh, that's that one on Instagram that I love going around a while, where people were doing the mouthing to stop trying to do everything.

And they were showing everything they were doing. Mm-hmm my response to that was, well then who the fuck is gonna do it? Right? right. I was like, I loved that one. That was my favorite, right? Yeah. Cause stop trying to do everything well, who the fuck's 

[00:31:23] Randi: gonna do it. Right. Well, as women, we just are taught to do everything and to just keep like shouldering it, like over and over again, a lot of us are single moms or single women, or like don't have a support system.

So it's like, it does fall all on you. So it's like, how sometimes can you feel positive when you're feeling such a heavy. Burden of like the load that you have to carry and all the things that you're supposed to accomplish and do on a day to day basis, not mind you like all like goals you're supposed to have for your life and like an end 

[00:32:00] Jess: game.

Well, and all the self-care we keep telling you to do too. Cuz how do you fit the self-care in between all of that? Or it can be 

[00:32:06] Randi: like really expensive too. Yes. Like if you think it's supposed to look a certain way because you've been told it should be. The bath bombs and the candles and the massage, like, let's be realistic.

We all don't either have time for that, or we don't have the income for it. It can be then another burden that you're placing on somebody to do these things for themselves. So it's okay if it's just like, Sitting in the park or like reading a book from the library or what brings you joy? It doesn't have to be spending money or things like that, or following what somebody else is doing again, like don't play that comparison game with that toxic positivity that it needs to be a, B or C you find.

Gray area that works for you. 

[00:32:55] Jess: And again, that could be hiding in your closet cuz that's the only place that they can't find you. Right. Or that they leave you alone. Right? Yeah. There's nothing wrong with stretching in the middle of your closet because they leave 

[00:33:04] Randi: you alone. Mm-hmm right. Yeah. It could just be like listening to music, like putting in.

I put in my AirPods because it has like the noise counseling and I down triggers me and stuff. So sometimes it's like, I have to have five minutes of like listening to song and like calming down. It could be just writing. Well, they say write an journal all the time, but I'm not very good at that, but that's your thing.

That's awesome. You know, for me, it's like reading a book and so if I don't have money to buy one, I can go to the library and get one finding alternatives. To things so that it's not like impeding you or blocking you from getting that care that you need for yourself. And, you know, 

[00:33:40] Jess: you talk about, yes, please listen to our podcast.

but you know, sometimes I, I had a job once where I would just put on headphones and not listen to anything, but the headphones meant people left me alone. Oh yeah. So I would just have headphones on with nothing on just so I could just focus on what I was doing. Mm-hmm because they thought I was doing something.

Right. And so sometimes 

[00:34:00] Randi: it's different. Yeah. And like setting realistic expectations and stuff for yourself. I mean, just like this past week, it was like my birthday. And like Jess was supposed to come to, my friends, had planned something for me and I was, I can't do it this week. I just like was emotionally like not in the place.

To feel like I wanted to be social and it worried like everybody. And like, I understand because normally I love doing that stuff, but I was just, I just can't. And that was just like my expectation for myself. And I felt bad like about doing it, but I shouldn't have it's okay to do those things, to like set boundaries.

I can. I'm feeling this, or like, I'm not feeling this. And that's part of also being compassionate towards yourself and practicing 

[00:34:42] Jess: that. And I knew something was going on. So during that day I was like, what are you doing? Let's go shopping. Right. Yeah. And that helped so much. And all we did was walk around target and some other store.

Oh, good. Home goods, right? Yeah. Part of it is validating that you can have positive and negative emotions. Mm-hmm toxic positivity. Doesn't do that. They, oh, be happy. No, no, no. I'm sorry. This sucks. What can we do? What can we go? Let's go 

[00:35:05] Randi: wonder. Yeah. That's what happened? Like just validated that I was having like a hard time.

I was like, oh, I'm gonna go run some errands. And she was like, I'm gonna come with you. And that was, she was just with me. And that's kind of how we stumbled upon this subject too, because we were like, oh my gosh, all the good vibes stuff we saw when we were in home goods, we were like, absolutely. The door mats, like the signs, like the shirts we were like, why is this.

Being shoved, you know, down our throats. And like, when I'm like struggling today, I was like, I'm not feeling this good vibes. And that was okay. And she heard me and she validated that and she supported me in that. But like, if you don't have that, like how do you work on that? And so that's like the thing, like bringing in like maintaining a healthy balance of activities and rest, we don't often listen to our bodies.

We don't take the time, the downtime that we need. We're very much like, go, go, go society. Resting is really hard too, for 

[00:35:59] Jess: people practicing self-compassion I don't think people understand what self-compassion is. And I think for you saying, I can't handle this right now and really honoring how you are feeling and why you were feeling it was great.

And you were just saying, I can't do this right now and not feeling guilty about it is being compassionate for yourself. That, this is what I need right now. This is what my body needs. My mind needs, whatever it is. And you're right. Balancing it with rest and being able to be around people who can sit with you in that, oh, I should just 

[00:36:32] Randi: push through cuz then I'll have fun, like blah, blah, blah.

And it's again, why, what I need to dissociate from those feelings or suppress those feelings I'm having right now in order to put like on a happy face that shouldn't be. My 

[00:36:49] Jess: reality. No, it's like those nineties, are they nineties, nineties posters, you know that you, oh yeah. Hang 

[00:36:55] Randi: on. From like that we would get at like the Scholastic book.

Fair, whatever, eighties, nineties. I was like, 


[00:37:00] Jess: those eighties for me, like kitten, hang on till Friday. Yeah. But I was thinking more of like the ones that you would see, like climb mountains there. Oh yeah. 

[00:37:08] Randi: Those goal ones. Yeah. Motivation like this is that. Yeah. I know what you're talking about. yeah, those were 

[00:37:14] Jess: everywhere.

Yeah. Versus the reality is, Hey, this is. Hard getting through grad school is really hard going to do. This is really hard. And what are you going to do for yourself? To get there. How are you gonna be compassionate? What balances are you going to have and being realistic about all of these 

[00:37:34] Randi: goals? Oh, I was gonna say like on the opposite side, if you find yourself kind of like preaching yes.

That positive, overly positive all the time and happy all the time. And you've made this, your whole personality and then you're forced feeding this on other people or like forcing other people and like, why can't you okay. Like maybe take a step back. Why are you. Assuming that, why are you not allowing yourself to feel any other feelings?

Why are you making other people feel bad or feeling their feelings because you don't feel like it's fitting into your narrative. 

[00:38:08] Jess: Exactly. Why is it you're having a hard time accepting that they're having a bad day? One of the things I think my daughter learned from me and I was, I was thinking about this over the last day or two, right?

Is that, you know, we would show, she says something and she can spin. But she'll acknowledge it. Oh, we show up to somewhere and it's closed and she really wanted to go to this place. Right. And she'll say, well, but at least we got a good car ride together. I think I'm okay with that really? Truly, because it's saying, yeah, that really sucked, you know, but we did get a good car ride together.

[00:38:39] Randi: Right. And that's fine. When you can pull out positives out of negative experiences. But if like, that's your narrative every single time, or if you were to say, well, and then back that though with like, but there's also like the flip side too. Like what if you were like bashing it with like negative again, you know, like she's like we did.

The car ride was really good. And we had that time together, even though the stores closed and you're like, yeah, but blah, blah, blah. We can also go in that direction too, where we're creating a negative loop over and over again. So it's good to think about it in both ways. 

[00:39:18] Jess: And I really is sitting in both.

Right. Mm-hmm yeah, it totally blows that the place is closed or I didn't read the directions and I got lost and yet we did have a good car ride. Mm-hmm I think those both can exist as long as we're acknowledging that this is not a good thing. Right, right. Like this sucked or something was hard 

[00:39:37] Randi: or that's the way you feel negative about it and she's feeling positive about it and that's okay to have those two polar.

Emotions and experiences and they can exist. 

[00:39:47] Jess: Absolutely. And we talked earlier about really having boundaries. That is a hard concept for most people to even understand what they are. 

[00:39:56] Randi: And it's been around for like forever. I was telling Jess the other day, like my mom had like a book about boundaries and like had me read it and stuff like when I was like a teenager and I was like, what is this shit?

But it's still a really hard concept to understand and to implement. 

[00:40:14] Jess: Yeah. So why don't we talk about that next time? I think our next episode, let's go through and talk about boundaries. Yes. Because that is such a huge piece of, of what I think we all need are. Boundaries. 

[00:40:25] Randi: Yes, bitch. You need boundaries. ah, 

[00:40:28] Jess: like a MFer.

Yeah. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well that isn't for this podcast. Thank you for hanging out to the end. Please send us some questions. Next time. We're gonna start answering some of these questions we've been getting, and we really want to hear more from you guys. So check us out on our website.

[00:40:44] Randi: Yeah. Unapologetically Randy and Send us an email. If you have any burning questions about women's mental health issues, so we can break down the stigma and barriers about it and we'll talk to you next week. All right. See ya. Bye. 1, 2, 3, 4. Thanks for listening and normalizing mental health with us.

[00:41:04] Jess: Don't forget to check out our free resources and favorites on our website. Unapologetically Randy and 

[00:41:11] Randi: like, and share this episode and tune in next week.

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Toxic Positivity Podcast S1 Episode 5

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