“Healthy positivity means making space for both reality and hope.” – Whitney Goodman, Toxic Positivity
It is no secret that mindset is crucial when it comes to behavior change, especially in the health space. That being said, have you ever considered that the “good vibes only” or “think positive” attitude might be working against you? I recently read Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goldman, and it shed some light on how this can be harmful in the wellness industry. The more I read into this, the more I saw it everywhere.
Truth is, every health journey can involve periods where you are really gaining momentum and others where you are deep in the trenches. I always embrace the importance of reflection in my practice, whether it is journaling or talking it through with your practitioner. I feel that this is helpful to be honest with the reality of your day to day situation while still thinking forward and coming up with solutions. Here are a few tips for balancing reality AND looking forward:
Don’t give yourself a specific timeline
Yes, certain practitioners and programs really do give you valuable insight, tools, education and more to really really help you while you do the work. That being said, behavior change is a tricky and individualized process. Giving yourself some grace is essential for habit longevity. Time is unfortunately something that we often are really hard on ourselves about. We are working through your own mind, metabolism/ unique body, and environment. It is important to realize that there are so many factors that go into your journey. That being said, these are also areas for opportunity and there is so much potential for “lightbulb moments”. So, it is important to be determined with your progress but flexible with your timeline.
Look for the right inspiration
We are often flooded with “inspiration” on a daily basis. It is important to look for inspiration that embraces growth, the journey, and learning experiences and not just filling our mind with where we want to be. Examples of this could be reading honest stories about what people overcame to get where they are now, case studies from a practitioner, or reaching out to someone that overcame what you are trying to overcome and getting the full story.
Look for solutions that instill empowerment
In this day and age, solutions are everywhere. Some can be helpful, while others can leave us feeling defeated. It is important to be open to solutions and test them out. A big green flag for these solutions is if they promote empowerment, or make you feel like you are in the driver’s seat for your own health. You should feel educated, at peace, and in control.
“Grace and grit” was something I used to preach all the time, but honestly it took me time, while working with many clients, to really fully understand what it meant. Full balance with this is exercising self compassion, flexibility, and embracing reality WHILE remaining hopeful and solutions-focused.