toxic positivity

Toxic Positivity Detox: How to Get Out of the Beautiful Lie

In case you missed my last post we are going on a toxic positivity detox! We have all been telling each other beautiful lies and it is time to pull back the curtain and get real! 

This topic is super important to me because in the coaching world there is a LOT of toxic positivity. I’ve had a coach tell me it’s all “mindset” or “I’ll get back whatever I am willing to invest” and while they may believe these statements they are wildly misleading. As someone who does believe that we can live in an abundant world I also understand that there is so much more to these cliches and everyone’s journey to success looks different. When we invest in ourselves we always get something back but it may not be financial and it may not look the same for us as it does for others. It’s a lot less sexy to say – but it’s true. 

As a coach I truly believe in the power of a positive mindset but I understand that it’s not the only ingredient to my clients success. Hard work, strategy, good timing, trial and error – they all play into our success. Doing something you love everyday makes the hard work feel easy but it’s still effort and energy you put into your growth. 

Our friend toxic positivity tells us that my statement above is pessimistic and #workhardplayhard always prevails so let’s dig into it. 

Toxic Positivity Defined

Toxic positivity is the overgeneralization that EVERYTHING and every experience must be viewed through a positive lens. When we participate in toxic positivity we mean well but usually we end up doing more damage than helping. 

This is because toxic positivity revokes authentic feelings. When we say things like “look at the brightside” we are asking people to not feel their negative emotions for the sake of our comfort – because we want to HELP! We put our need to feel like we have “fixed” people over their need to process their emotions. It is not fair! 

Think about it – when you complain to a friend and they tell you something like “everything happens for a reason” do you honestly feel any better? I don’t!

To detox from this we need to work on responding authentically, asking about how our statements make people feel, actively listening or setting boundaries around when we can take on emotional labor from others. 

It’s Ok to Say “No” or  “Not Right Now”

I used to be REALLY bad at saying no. This is not an admirable trait because it causes burnout, makes people bitter and usually made me into a shitty friend. Instead of saying no to people I would agree to help and lack the ability to pay attention or run out of energy to take care of myself. It was toxic, it’s not a good idea and it’s why we always need to put ourselves first. 

We also need to be ok with setting boundaries. It is ok to not have the energy to actively listen to someone. To handle this appropriately we just need to be honest. You are always welcome to say something like “I’m really sorry this is happening to you. Right now I am unable to engage in this conversation but I want you to know that I support you.” We can offer resources to them such as online counseling or coaching, other friends that may be available or a better time to chat with them. We can have boundaries and still be actively engaged in our friendships. We cannot pretend to listen, through some cliches at people and then let ourselves feel like we “fixed” the problem (because we all love that sweet dopamine hit of being the saviour)!

Happy to Help 

If we are in the space to listen to and comfort our friends we need to do exactly that. LISTEN and COMFORT. 

Some people love hearing anecdotes of times when the same thing happened to you, others just need to vent and others might just want to sit in silence together and process silently but with your company. None of these are wrong – but unless you are a Jedi you might struggle to read their mind. 

Normalize asking people what kind of support they would like or need. It is ok to ask and if they don’t know or are too worked up to decide try active listening and see where the conversation goes. 

A quick lesson on active listening! Active listening is a way to show that you are engaged, focused and willing to support the person talking to you. You can practice active listening by repeating back to people what they say, nodding, asking questions that engage the speaker in the conversation, withholding judgement and clarifying. These are skills we can dig deeper into on another blog post or we can practice in a 1×1 coaching session. *You can sign up for a FREE coaching consultation here

This does NOT mean you need to overthink the conversation or not talk about yourself at all. Instead it is a reminder to think of the best way to support your friends instead of spewing cliches at them. It’s a reminder to have a REAL conversation where you listen instead of lecturing your friend.

Ready to embark on this detox with me? Hold me accountable and if you ask I’ll hold you accountable to it too! 

Authenticity, Protecting your Energy & Toxic Positivity

Toxic positivity is the most powerful weapon against authenticity. Don’t believe me? Let me explain. 

Before we start here’s little background on toxic positivity

I love love. I love play, excitement, joy, fun! But it is wildly ignorant to believe that everything will always be rainbow and sunshine! I preach that our mindset matters and having a generally positive outlook is helpful for our mental state BUT we can go overboard in the positivity department. This is when positivity becomes toxic. 

Toxic positivity is the overgeneralization that we should be positive and optimistic ALWAYS. It stems from an unwillingness to acknowledge or experience negative emotions. Toxic positivity can feel fake at best and can force participants to repress their negative feelings at worst. 

Youtube Breakdown of Bossbabe culture!

What’s so bad about ignoring our negative emotions? Any emotion we ignore, bury or try to hide is just a bubble of trauma waiting to be burst. If we do not FEEL and ACKNOWLEDGE our emotions they maintain power over us and slip into our subconscious. They start impacting how we make decisions with or without our knowledge. 

In other words, toxic positivity is being SO optimistic we refuse to acknowledge who or what we are. It buries our authenticity and convinces us that we shouldn’t feel negative emotions (and we all know how I feel about shoulding”). 

Toxic positivity is not just “look at the positives” it’s saying to actively ignore and avoid the negatives. 

Toxic Positivity in the Wild

So now that we have our definition let’s jump into how it is used against us (usually against women or femme members of society). 

I’m going to use the phrase positive vibes to explain this. Let’s say I have a neon sign that says “positive vibes only” in my living room. Cute, right? 

Sure, BUT what if you, my bff, come over and need to complain. You really need to let out all the big sad feelings you are having because your husband left you, he stole your favorite cat, he wants custody of your aquarium that you bought and paid for and he was cheating on you with an employee at the pet store. Rough right? 

We sit down on the couch with the sign hanging on the wall behind me. As you tell me all about the AWFUL things that are happening to you, I sit there, with my glaring sign behind me and tell you “everything happens for a reason” or “you don’t want to be with a man like that anyway”. By saying this I begin subtly (or not so subtly) SHAMING you into positivity when you really need to feel all your feels instead. 

That neon sign behind me begins making you feel ashamed for bringing “negative” vibes into the space. It invalidates your feelings and makes the statement that you shouldn’t be feeling or sharing these negative experiences. Toxic positivity tells you that it is shameful to not be positive, to feel bad for yourself, to have emotions. Because of this, toxic positivity forces us to stay stuck where we are. 

Two Reasons Toxic Positivity Causes Stagnation 

  1. It causes us to repress how we feel and hide parts of ourselves to keep the peace. When we ignore our humanness we prevent ourselves from processing the pain. We would rather stay exactly where we are than deal with the emotion due to the fear that it may not be a positive experience. 
  1. When we pretend everything is ok (or convince ourselves that everything is perfect) we can’t see where we need to grow. Toxic positivity glosses over all the places we can grow. It smooths out any blemishes, it prevents us from seeing things as they are and if we can’t identify the issues we can’t fix them. 

Toxic positivity creates inauthentic and fake happiness. It tells us that just being in this moment means that we should (you know how I feel about should) be happy. Asking people to use perspective before they have had a chance to process their emotions marginalizes their experience and dehumanizes them. By forcing people to repress their emotions we are telling them that their baseline emotional level is “too much” or “inappropriate” under the guise of making other people comfortable. You should never make yourself less to make others comfortable (but you should respect their boundaries). 

Toxic Positivity in #Bossbabe Culture 

As I mentioned earlier, toxic positivity is usually used against women. The power of positive thinking is a marketing tool used by MLMs to convince women to invest in their programs. MLMs or “multi-level marketing” schemes are organizations that operate by recruiting salespeople who are not employees of the company. In most instances these sales people are then asked to recruit other sales people to make more money. Women are fed the line that they will “be a boss babe”, “own their own business” or #workhardplayhard to fuel their success. 

Who doesn’t want someone to give them the blueprints to success! It all sounds fun until you run out of friends and family to recruit from. All you have to do is plug in your network and build like the inspirational woman in the video they showed you with the sad sob story. When you no longer have the ability to add anyone else to your team because you’ve tapped your network dry, your dreams of being a #bossbabe begin to feel like failure.

In a lot of these organizations the person who recruited you is making money off your success SO they will feed you lies of toxic positivity or shame you into believing that you aren’t working hard enough. According to your bossbabe boss you are not allowed to fail or failure is not an option. Unfortunately for your bossbabe mentor, you can (and probably will at some point or another) fail.

A major issue with this failure is the financial burden it causes on the women who are duped into participating. These organizations do not just prey on suburban middle class women – they don’t care who they make money off of as long as they can get them to pay for their products. They do this by telling rags to riches stories to “empower” the women involved. But they don’t disclose the failure rates of women who join.

The Power of Positive Thinking

I think MLMs are totally fine if you have disposable income and want to try to make money but I do not believe they are the environment that can pull you out of poverty – and they are willing to take anyone’s money regardless of the odds of success. So, if you are spending your last pennies on a product that you then have to encourage others to buy before you can make money you are probably making a poor financial investment. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE to succeed from this position but it is harder. 

This power of positive thinking makes you believe you are the anomaly instead of normal. It will shame you into believing that you have to be willing to do “whatever it takes” to succeed. It’s bullshit- positive thinking isn’t the only piece that leads to success – and we need to throw toxic positivity away. 

Conclusion

Please don’t take this as an anti-positivity post – I love having a sunny disposition when it’s authentic! I truly believe that there is power in positive thinking – but there is just as much value in honoring your emotions, listening to your own intuition and rejecting inauthentic positivity. Please remember when you feel anything other than positive – that’s ok, normal and important as well! 

*I am not a doctor or therapist. 

Grounded with Potato Tacos

Potato tacos time! Before we jump in let’s taco-bout getting grounded (I’m sorry – I had to!) 

My theme this week is all about getting present in our bodies. Getting grounded, keeping ourselves rooted in all the chaos! Because of this theme I decided to try a new grounding technique – cooking! 

Watch my struggle!

For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram you may not know this but I am not a great cook. In fact, I actively avoid cooking if I can. Brenton is our at home chef, King of the Kitchen and the Great Feeder of this Household. This week I decided it was time to give cooking a try (with his supervision – I cannot be trusted around knives). 

As an avid Taco Bell lover who has not had her vice since before the pandemic, I decided I needed to DIY potato tacos. I used the recipe below to guide us but as you can see in the video – we took some liberties when it came to the spices and vices. 

So enjoy! Watch me try (and succeed) at creating my favorite tacos and if you’re feeling inspired maybe try getting grounded with a ground potato recipe! 

TB Copycat Recipe: https://www.clarkscondensed.com/food/taco-bell-spicy-potato-soft-taco-and-spicy-chipotle-sauce/

Getting Grounded

Social Distance Summer is forcing me into a new and improved routine to get grounded. 

If you’re like me, your head is SPINNING with the chaos of the world we live in. Usually to come down from the chaos of the world I practice self-care and get myself grounded, but when the world is in a continued trauma response this gets a little tricky. I’ve noticed that typical self-care tips like bubble baths and nature walks just aren’t cutting it anymore. Essential oils and guided meditations are great but alone they aren’t remedying anything for me – so I’ve decided it’s time to rethink my grounding routine and try some new combinations of tools (and I’ve included some social media boundaries). 

What Does it Mean to be Grounded? 

Before we jump in let’s chat about grounding. What is it? Why do we do it? How does it work? 

In my opinion, grounding is the art of getting into the moment and in your body. It’s a way to calm the nervous system, check in with how we physically feel and to quiet the chaos in our big beautiful overstimulated brains. 

When I think of grounding I picture myself as a tree. My legs are the trunks and my roots grow out of them and literally into the ground. I imagine my tree getting as big and tall as it wants while its roots stay firmly planted in the ground. Sounds ideal, right? 

I imagine the chaos in my mind being sweet bird songs and everything being picturesque. When I’m not grounded – that’s when I picture my raw roots out of the ground. Like a tree that’s been knocked over by a storm. 

Ideally, we want to be grounded. To do this I used to stick to routines, exercise regularly, meditate daily and practice mindfulness but as of the 2020 hot mess express we are in I’ve been struggling to stay grounded even within my routines. 

Getting Grounded 

Now that we are at an understanding of the purpose of this practice let’s jump into the new and improved ways I’ve been practicing grounding! 

Turn Off The Phone 

If I am home and in a safe environment this is my most effective (and most difficult) way to get grounded. Be honest with yourself right now – are you GLUED to your technology in an effort to stay connected to those you love? Turn off the phone (but maybe warn your mom first because if she is anything like mine she WILL call the police if you don’t answer within a 30 minute span). 

When we turn off our phones we release our obligations to respond, be productive or show off/share what we are doing. We can just BE. Being is weird when we aren’t used to it but let me tell you once you get the hang of doing what you want when you want it’s a GAME changer. 

I imagine my phone being this source of static for my brain. Because information is constantly coming in, I compulsively check it for new things. I receive external validation on it so by turning it off and doing ANYTHING else I get a break from having to show up or show off. I get to get grounded into who I am and sit in my silence. It’s magic! 

Grounding Meditations 

Not to toot my own horn but I am a guided meditation queen. I love my Calm app. I love the sweet sound of fake rain in my headphones and I adore listening to someone tell me how to relax. Unfortunately, I am also EASILY distracted by anything these days (anyone else on high alert all the time?) so I struggle to follow along while sitting still for more than 10 minutes a day. 

To supplement my daily sitting meditation I’ve been getting grounded by doing walking meditation. You can do these on the Calm app (Headspace probably has them too but I’m a Calm purist) or by walking around and getting present in your body. How does it feel when your foot hits the ground? What do you see, hear or smell? 

*bonus points for walking around in your apartment because it’s a million degrees outside making it too hot to go on a walk. 

Yoga/Dance/ Get Grounded by Movement 

If meditating isn’t your jam try doing yoga, dance, workout videos, anything that boosts your heart rate a little! If I am REALLY struggling to get out of my head I will do a higher intensity workout to wear myself out a little OR do something that forces my focus (like hand balancing or an out of my element dance class).

Another option is to pull out your yoga mat and literally just lay on the ground. Let your thoughts run until they tire themselves out and then try to just take note of them. Step into the role of the observer and watch them run themselves into the ground. THIS TAKES A LOT OF PRACTICE (for most of us) so don’t get mad if it is hard to do. 

Get Grounded with the Elements & Gravity 

Last but not least hop into the elements.

Water

Take a bath, get in a pool, go to the ocean, drink some water (are you dehydrated? You might be!). Even listening to ocean or rain sounds will help you connect to water. This will force you to notice the sensations (either feeling water on your body or hearing it) and pull you out of your head. 

Air

BREATHE. Maybe you aren’t ready for a major meditation but you can always try a box breath! Take a deeeeep breath in and count to four, hold the breath for four seconds, release for four seconds then hold for four seconds before inhaling again. ONLY DO THIS A COUPLE TIMES. 

Earth

Touch some plants, get barefoot in the grass, feel the dirt under your feet. Get to know you by connecting with our planet. One of my favorite ways to get grounded is to go outside and water my plants. A link to my blog post about my patio plant friends is here if you want to check it out or buy some plant friends of your own! 

Fire 

Light some candles, watch the flame flicker or use incense JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO LIGHT YOUR HOUSE ON FIRE. And never leave candles burning when you aren’t around. 

Gravity 

And last but not least use our good friend gravity by investing in a weighted blanket. My weighted blanket changed my life. It creates a safe little cocoon for me to hide in and it applies pressure on my muscles which forces them to relax. This is the one I use but if you want to splurge there are SO MANY possibilities. 

Conclusion 

There you have it my loves! These are some of my new and improved ways I’m getting grounded. As a reminder I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR THERAPIST. Please work with a medical professional when it comes to your physical and mental health and never make decisions based solely on the advice of a stranger on the internet. 

Sending you lots of love! 

**Links in this post are affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for any purchases made through one of my Amazon links on this page. 

Authenticity and Bravery Go Hand in Hand

I’ve talked about bravery before but lately I’ve had a bravery break through that I wanted to share. If you read the last post about bravery you might have a clue – it’s all about the importance of authenticity. 

In that post I chatted about the importance of authenticity and how to embody it but this time I want to elaborate.

And before we begin, yes, it is cheesy but the whole “be you everyone else is taken” can ring true. Stay with me as we dig into this!

Authenticity

Being authentic is the bravest choice you can make. Showing up unapologetically you (but obviously with kindness and good intentions) is the most important thing you can do – be you – it’s cheesy but you were meant to do big things. 

If we believe in higher power, God, Spirit, Energy, Source whatever caused us to be here – right now- then we are likely to believe that we were put here at this time for a specific reason. We were designed to exist as who we are for a specific reason. We were meant to have the wants, dreams, qualities and passions for a reason and this reason is SPECIFIC and individual to all of us. It is authentic. This individuality is why we have so many opinions on everything and everyone and why we judge other people or worry about them judging us. 

It’s messy – but it’s also liberating! Everyone is not supposed to follow the same path. If we all did the exact same thing that would be 1) boring 2) useless and 3) creates a homogenous world filled with things we could all do ourselves. We have to embrace our unique gifts and authenticity – we have to believe in our unique personal mission – we have to trust that there is some sort of plan or purpose and we have to be willing to be brave to find it. Our bravery is what allows us to follow our mission – allows us to be our most authentic selves. 

Being authentic is crucial to our success but we avoid it. Why?

Fear & Scarcity Mindset

We love to let our fear and scarcity mindset get in the way. Instead of listening to our inner guidance about our wants and passions we get caught up with our What If Monster and Shoulds. 

What If Monster

Our What If Monster is a jerk. We talk about him a lot in WDYW but to keep it brief he feeds off of fears and loves to stop us from doing new things under the guise of keeping us safe. He attacks using “logic” and scares us into staying the same. Our What If Monster says things like: 

  • What if I’m not “allowed” to have success?
  • What if I’m not meant to follow my dreams?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if people think I’m stupid for doing this?

He’s a real asshole. Every time we give in to his antics and hesitate from a place of fear (or hold ourselves back) we give him more fuel. We fill him up and make him so big that every little task feels impossible. Any new opportunity feels like it could be a threat. 

Stop Feeding the Monster

What we forget in this scenario is that we have the power to cut him off. We have the power to overcome him. All we have to do is stop feeding him. There are a couple techniques for this but one of my favorites is to play my What If scenario out.

What if people judge me? Then people judge me. I let other people’s potential opinions keep me from doing something I want to do. People judging me is a reflection on them not me. We can go on and on from here and in the end we usually come to the same place. IF the big scary what if happens then we will be ok, we will have done the big exciting thing we wanted to do and we will have learned something new. As long as we aren’t endangering ourselves or others we need to stop feeding the What If Monster so we can take away his power. 

Shoulds 

We love shoulding all over ourselves. Shoulding is another way we dim our inner voice and authenticity and tune into the way we think we were supposed to do things because of our childhood, lifestyle or opinions of others. Shoulding sucks. 

We should all over ourselves when we say things like

  • I should go on a diet 
  • I should go on a run 
  • I should get up and clean the house 

Shoulding forces us to ignore our wants and our wants are where our authenticity hides. We need to pay attention to our usage of should and try to frame things in a way that inspires us instead of bringing us down! 

Authenticity & Bravery

When we start noticing our shoulds and what ifs we begin to find our authenticity.By tuning out the noise from the outside we can listen to ourselves within. When we start to listen to our inner voice or intuition to be ourselves – that’s the bravest thing we can do. 

Being brave doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid. Being brave means we show up anyway even when we are scared shitless. 

Showing up as our most authentic selves is an act of bravery. It’s the bravest thing we can do. Taking an open and honest look at ourselves is BRAVE af. Looking inside, getting to know all of ourselves and loving ourselves along the way is BRAVE af. 

Being you is the bravest thing you can do. Ready to tap into your inner badass? Sign up for a program or schedule a 1×1 (while spots are still available). We can access your bravest most badass self. Details here. 

Starting a Business During a Pandemic

Who in their right mind starts a business during a pandemic? Me! I do – I did – I finally got there! And if you follow me on Instagram you will know that the process of getting my business license has been DRAMATIC AF. It has been a JOURNEY. 

To top the whole event off, when my license arrived on Monday it said “But Really Do” instead of “But Really Tho” *face palm* Luckily, the easiest part of this process has been calling the county office to get it fixed. My new license arrived within 3 days of my call. 

too long? don’t want to read? watch this instead!

But, the rest of the process – it’s been CHAOS. So let’s take a trip down memory lane. 

Why did I do this? 

Let’s go back to December, shall we? 

I shared why I started my business during vlogmas and in this post but I glossed over the logistics because they were messy. ICYMI my goal with moving to the coaching space was to help people instead of corporations and to make personal and professional development available to everyone – including those who could not afford high level coaching. Financial gatekeeping in this industry is a tricky subject and my goal was to shake things up – make sure there is content available for those who can’t financially invest (hence this blog & my youtube channel). 

Business Plan

So, with my mission intact I set myself a plan to get what I wanted. At the end of 2019 I set myself the goal to start working on my business and build it so that I could quit my HR job by the end of 2020. I signed up and got certified as a Life Coach. Worked coaching information into my HR job at the time. Began slowly building that client list and social media audience. Slow and steady wins the race. 

To start making money legitimately I needed a business license. Easy right? WRONG! 

The process of getting a business license varies by where you live. For me, this process was a low key nightmare because I lived in the unincorporated part of my county. I needed a special permit to operate a virtual business from my home and it needed to be signed by my landlord. 

So at the beginning of March, I jumped through this hoop, got my leasing office to sign off on it and then made an appointment to go turn it in and get my business license. The hard part was over (I thought).

A Wrench in the Plan 

With this document in hand I was ready to go in to file my permit, DBA (aka my business name But Really Tho) AND my business license. I made plans to go do it all on Friday March 20th. This plan went to absolute crap because CA went on lockdown around 3/16. 

THE DAY I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO THE THING I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO LEAVE MY HOUSE.

I realize in hindsight that some people may have taken this setback as a sign to stop but I refused. I knew I had two options – sit like a log and wait for the government to re-open in 3 weeks OR call and beg for them to let me mail the documents in. 

Being stubborn AF I decided to do the latter. Lucky for me all the wonderful women who work at the county office were sweet, kind and totally ok with me mailing things in. So, I mailed in my home permit. It came back three weeks later & I got everything together to file my dba. We were moving again!!

Around and round and round we go! 

This came back to me THREE WEEKS LATER unapproved because my check had my old address on it. 

I ordered new checks and tried again.

A MONTH AFTER MAILING I HEARD NOTHING BACK. Radio silence. I called the county office and they just never received my check….

At this point I began to wonder if the universe was giving me a big ole NO STOP DON’T but I refused to listen. 

I re-mailed the DBA (aka my business name) and two weeks later I was APPROVED. 

LICENSE TIME FINALLY 

I finally had all the paperwork ready to file by the end of June – four months after my initial planned start date. 

I mailed my paperwork in late June/early July and it FINALLY came back – approved, official, legit…except that darn typo.

The Lesson 

Now, at the end of July – my license is here, accurate and ready to go! I am 100% a legitimate business. Looking back on this journey I could have quit, procrastinated or given up but instead I used my delays wisely. 

In the four months that it took to get my license together I grew my social media, grew my client list, got super consistent on my blog, youtube and instagram content. I did online trainings, I researched all the topics I wanted to create courses on and I embodied my coaching lessons. I created programs, marketing strategies, spoke on virtual panels, worked on myself and I spent time living my life.

The lesson from all of this is: do not give up when things get hard. Do not quit because the path doesn’t look like you thought it would. Don’t be afraid to change your approach but never lose sight of your goal. 

This process got me here – to you – ready to help you conquer all your roadblocks. Ready to go after what you want? Stick with it when things get hard? Refuse to give up on yourself? Sign up for a session or program. Let’s make you the master of your life and career! 

Want to make a change but not sure where to start? Email butreallythocoaching@gmail.com for a free screening call – let’s figure it out together.