Toxic Positivity – What Is It And Why Is It Harmful?

Hello and welcome back!

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you read:

Part One

Part Two

Of this series before you dive into this part 🙂 Then when you’re ready, I’ll meet you back here for an exploration of how the Love and Light path can take us out of reality and out of empowerment and into delusion and more suffering.


Too Much 'Love And Light' Can Be Toxic - Here’s How

The truth is, a lot of the ‘Love and Light’ perspective can be toxic, and it can drive us into places where we lose our capacity to have true compassion. It can draw us out of reality, it can take us to places where we become overly self-important and involved and this way of looking at the world shrinks reality a little too much.

First things first - if we aren’t able to acknowledge that we’re individuals living within systems, that we’re not the sole beings creating our own realities but that we’re being affected by our past, by those around us, by the society we live in, by the conditioning we received and by the basic biology we occupy that we didn’t choose, that we didn’t consent to, that we didn’t opt into and that all of this plays a MAJOR role in the experiences we are going to have and how we’re going to process those experiences - we are going to be continually caught in loops of misunderstanding ourselves, misunderstanding the world around us and navel gazing that doesn’t actually serve to help us feel good in life.

The reality is, we don’t all have equal opportunity to create a fulfilling, satisfying, healthy life for ourselves - and as hard as this is to accept - it’s something that we DO need to accept as a humanity if we want to be able to create a world where MORE people DO have access to the goodness and support they want and need.

There can be a LOT of fear in this way of looking at the world that if we validate and acknowledge that certain challenges and limits exist, that this is giving them POWER. There can be a lot of feeling like if we aren’t actively looking for the GOOD and the POSITIVE and the EMPOWERMENT in every moment and everything, that THIS is what’s CREATING the blocks we feel and experience in our lives - and that it’s through POSITIVE FOCUS that we are going to ‘manifest’ the positive lives we want.

This way of thinking often misses the point - which is that in order to create the changes we want to see on the planet, we first have to acknowledge and validate that we DON’T currently have what we wish to see.

It misses that on many levels we ARE going to have to look at the root causes of what’s happening - the systemic injustice, the things that hurt us as children, the trauma we’ve experienced individually and collectively - and we’re going to have to UNDERSTAND what was painful/what is painful about these things BEFORE we’re going to be able to create something new.

We are going to have to acknowledge generational trauma and how deeply things like poverty, not having enough, not having security and not feeling safe affect us as humans if we want to have any chance of creating a life for ourselves and our communities that DO support us. 

We can’t ‘Love and Light’ our way out of systems that aren’t working - because if we don’t look at WHY what is happening is happening and WHY it’s harmful, we will never be able to build something new and better in its place - which is how true transformation happens.

The problem with the Love and Light thinking is that it’s trying to jump to an end result of perfection in life, without doing the actual work to CREATE the perfection we can create - via looking at where that perfection currently DOESN’T exist, and then doing the actual work required to change things so that they can be better.

Feeling Incapable Leads To Denial

A lot of the time, this perspective is actually a cover-up for the fact that many of us don’t feel CAPABLE of looking at the systems we have, looking at the complexity of reality and looking at all the STEPS that are going to have to be taken to get us from where we are to where we want to go. 

We want to believe that we can simply ‘manifest’ or ‘vibrate’ our way into a better world/state - which means we aren’t ever going to do the actual work required to MAKE things different - and this is going to be to our detriment.

A lot of the time this way of thinking leads us to unintentionally gas-lighting ourselves and others about the realities of the challenges they face on a day to day life. It’s a way that we protect ourselves from the pain of realizing that life ISN’T fair, that it’s not just and that we DON’T all have the same capacity and opportunity. It helps us to feel like we can AVOID having to FEEL the heaviness of grief, sadness, rage and helplessness that comes with acknowledging that there are simply some things in life that are deeply tragic and painful - things we don’t have a good explanation for and that are just PAINFUL.

This way of thinking can blind us to our own privilege and the ways in which the systems we are living in are working for us at the EXPENSE of others. This is a HUGE one that I think we REALLY need to look at.

This 'Love and Light’ perspective is often a shield we use to defend ourselves against having to look at all the ways in which WE have opportunity, WE were able to ‘work hard’ and fix our own lives, WE were given help, WE were supported and held up and WE had conditions that served us and our success that other people DON’T have. It shields us from having to recognize that we may be living in a reality where we have unfair advantages that were not earned, that are not a reflection of our merit or anything to do with us being good, better, worthy or more deserving than others - but simply because of the place and positions we hold in society.

It prevents us from having to admit where we are being supported in ways that others aren’t, where we may be a part of a system that actually works AGAINST others so that we can have more, and that we aren’t always the ‘cause’ of the good things that happen to us - sometimes we are totally undeserving and we are just having a good life in large part because we were born into it.

This can be hard.

This perspective again helps us not feel the depths of our human empathy - the empathy that SHOULD come up when we look at how unjust, imbalanced and unfair our world really is. It helps us deal with the existential crisis of witnessing the suffering of others, not understanding it, feeling bad for them, feeling afraid for ourselves, wanting to put distance between ‘us and them’ and wanting to believe that ultimate freedom is possible - both for ourselves and others.

This perspective shields us from the reality that we don’t have total control - which oftentimes again leads us to a place where we become hyper-fixated on ourselves and our inner world as a way of trying to control our experiences or at least trying to control our reaction to and feelings about our experiences.

This perspective can lead us to a state of being where we aren’t able to fully acknowledge our own humanity because we have been trained to run from our human emotions. We’ve been trained that our human emotions are the CAUSE of the ‘bad things’ that are happening to us or that to slow down and feel/process our negative feelings will mean getting STUCK in them forever. This way of thinking gives us an escape valve for our hard to process negative emotions, thoughts and feelings - it says we can ALWAYS just brush them away, look for the positive, reach for a better feeling thought or otherwise eject ourselves from anything negative or heavy - and that we SHOULD be doing that at all times. This will of course be really attractive to anyone who feels overwhelmed by their emotional experience and who doesn’t feel capable of processing their feelings in an empowered way.

This perspective can lead to a lot of pain, because it dramatically reduces our capacity to process our experiences and the pain that is inevitable in life. It puts us in a position where we are being continually asked to ‘jump ahead’ from where we actually are on our journey of processing life to a ‘positive’ place and this can be incredibly damaging for our human spirit that often needs time to actually feel and grieve and figure things out one step at a time.

Too Much Focus On The SELF

Another big issue with the ‘Love and Light’ perspective is that it can place WAY too much emphasis on the ‘self’ and drives people to be overly consumed with managing their actions and behaviors, their thoughts and emotions - and this actually obfuscates what we actually want and need a lot of the time, while also driving us to a place of deep self centeredness that is truly unhealthy. 

Even when we are thinking we are trying to ‘find our purpose’ and ‘serve others’ - we can be doing it from a vantage point of seeing our lives as being overly important - getting into that ‘main character syndrome’ of believing that our lives are some sort of pen-ultimate expression of truth and in that losing touch with our humility that we are important, but also one in several billion. It takes us out of what may lead us to having a HEALTHY sense of our insignificance and into a state of seeing way too much purpose and meaning in our existence.

It pushes us deeper into our hyper-individualistic culture that is all about keeping us in a state of total self absorption - being overly concerned with getting what WE want and what WE need, getting a ‘perfect’ life, perfecting ourselves in some way - it promotes the idea that MORE is always better and that we can and SHOULD always be striving for more - even when reality is showing us that we have enough. 

This focus on the self and this driving of the manufactured discontent that tells us that we are never enough/doing enough/achieving enough/transcending enough then perpetuates one of the MASSIVE problems that we have in our world today which is over-consumption and production. 

It drives us to the belief that more ‘things’, more experiences and more ‘grinding’ is the answer to all of our pain - and it actually disconnects us from our actual humanity. It makes having real, genuine relationships really difficult because we are so focused on ourselves, manifesting more for ourselves, being pure, right and aligned and having everything WE want - that we can’t help but look at others in a transactional way - as being there to either serve us or being there in a way that hinders us. 

It drives us to push ourselves way too hard and way too far - to think that more production is how we find our worth and value. It teaches us to identify with our work and our possessions to the extent that again, we lose our actual humanity in the process. 

It is often (not always) a big PART of the system that’s actually MAKING us unhappy - selling itself as being the SOLUTION. In this way of thinking there are massive groups of people who see ‘abundance’ by Western standards as being spiritual, as being a sign of alignment and as being part of what we NEED to have to be happy. It perpetuates the message that we SHOULD be ‘grinding’ all the time, that we should be working to become millionaires, that success and wealth are one in the same thing. It promotes the idea that it is a kind of liberation to be rich, and that working hard and being successful in our specific economy is a sign of ‘living your potential’ and ‘living your purpose.’ It perpetuates diet culture, beauty culture and purity culture - leading us to believe that our worth and value comes in how much we can LOOK the part of someone who is healthy/successful/powerful. It drives home the current cultural values that are leading MOST of us to hate ourselves, to destroy the planet and that REQUIRE that we rely upon exploitation and unfair systems in order to succeed personally.

It’s all about individuality - sometimes throwing in the idea that the richer you are the more you can ‘give’ - but that still perpetuates the myth that wealthy people are inherently better at deciding for less wealthy people how and where their resources should come to them, rather than them being able to earn a living wage and decide for THEMSELVES via equitable distribution. It still perpetuates the myth that our hierarchy of the wealthy having all the power in our systems and thus the most access to safety and opportunity - again at the expense of everyone else - is how it should be. It doesn’t necessarily say this out-loud - but this is the system it promotes.

It’s all about spirituality on the superficial, because it’s about a spirituality that denies our real feelings, that tells us that we have to be ‘pure’ in some way in order to deserve or earn good things, it tells us that those who are wealthy and healthy are somehow ‘better’ people and are therefore deserving of being dominant in our culture and it causes us to be incredibly self centered.

This way of thinking is all about how it LOOKS. 

It’s all about what being this way will do for our IMAGE and how it will shape others perceptions and perspectives of us. 

It’s all about having success, wealth, happiness and peace that others can look at and say ‘YOU have it! YOU are doing it right! YOU are enviable and to be respected.’

For the most part, this way of thinking drives us away from reality. It drives us away from seeing systems, from seeing how we don’t all have the same circumstances and thus the same capacity, that we don’t have total control over our lives and that hyper-fixating on ourselves isn’t the answer we think it is. This way of thinking really makes us feel like we are the center of the universe - and this can be incredibly damaging if we’re not careful about how far it goes.

It takes us out of context, and it tends to GLORIFY a lot of the problems we have in our culture today - while dressing up the perpetuation of harm as a spiritual act of alignment. 

It’s purity culture, it’s toxic individualism and it’s greed a lot of the time.

This is all REALLY hard stuff to look at. I know.



Let’s take a break here, and come back next week for an exploration on where the Love and Light philosophy gets it RIGHT so we can use it to support ourselves where it’s truly supportive.

Want to go deeper with me? Then check out the Aliyah Mystery School where you get access to over 300 exclusive videos and lectures, a private group and exclusive monthly meetings to help you get off the self improvement path and into a life that actually works for you!

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