Nov 22, 2023
As autumn paints the landscape in warm hues, we find ourselves knee-deep in the holiday season, with Thanksgiving at the helm. It's that time for gratitude, family gatherings, and, well, a dash of what I've affectionately dubbed "Thanksgiving Toxic Positivity."
Picture this: You're cozily seated around the Thanksgiving table, and everyone is jostling to outdo each other with their gratitude declarations. While embracing thankfulness is admirable, it's important to recognize that sometimes, an overdose of positivity can lead to Thanksgiving Toxic Positivity. Here's the dish:
Minimizing Gratitude: Your cousin, Emily, belts out her thankfulness for a flawless hair day, leaving you craving more profound expressions of gratitude. It's like a side dish of superficiality that Thanksgiving Toxic Positivity serves up.
Invalidating Emotions in Cranberry Sauce: You open up about your personal struggles, only for Aunt Linda to respond with, "But you have so much to be thankful for!" It's the classic move of Thanksgiving Toxic Positivity, gently pushing aside your genuine concerns.
The Pressure to Be Thankful: The holiday season can bring an overwhelming pressure to sport a mask of eternal happiness and gratitude, even when you might feel more like a plate of mashed potatoes.
Suppressed Emotions, Pumpkin Pie-Flavored: You bury your worries about overcooked turkey, family squabbles, or the anxiety that comes with hosting duties. Thanksgiving Toxic Positivity sweetens the pot with a dollop of whipped cream, hiding your true feelings.
Lost Empathy in the Holiday Hustle: Amid the giggles and feasting, it's easy to forget that not everyone's Thanksgiving is brimming with warmth and joy. Thanksgiving Toxic Positivity can unintentionally overlook those grappling with personal struggles during this time.
Now, let's clear up a common misconception. Expressing politeness and gratitude for the food, even if it's not your absolute favorite or has minor flaws, is not an example of toxic positivity. It's simply good manners and social etiquette to show appreciation when someone has prepared a meal for you, like Thanksgiving turkey.
Toxic positivity, on the other hand, refers to an excessive and insincere display of positivity in situations where it's not appropriate or when it dismisses genuine negative emotions or struggles. For instance, responding to someone's honest concerns about the food with something like, "Oh, come on, it's perfect! You should be grateful!" would be an example of toxic positivity, as it invalidates their feelings.
As we gather around the Thanksgiving table, let's make room for authentic emotions and genuine expressions of gratitude, while also maintaining our politeness and appreciation for the effort that goes into the meal. By doing so, we can transform this Thanksgiving into a season of sincerity, compassion, and genuine connection.