CommunicationDifficult peopleResiliency & attitude

Toxic positivity is still toxic

By January 10, 2023January 18th, 20232 Comments
Closeup of smile with two thumbs up
PHOTO CREDIT: Stock Unlimited

You have likely heard many people say that it is important to maintain a positive attitude. You may believe that always being positive is always a good thing.

Think again. Even positivity has its limits. 

Anything in extremes is unhealthy. Something as necessary and seemingly harmless as water can be lethal if taken in huge doses. When consumed in excessive amounts, too much water will upset your electrolyte balances and compromise your internal organs. It could result in a cardiac incident. All that from water taken to the extreme.

The same caution holds true of any positive thing in your life, anything. When taken to extremes even something as wonderful as a positive attitude can be unhealthy.

You likely know someone who is forever smiles, chuckles, sunshine, and lollipops. They may be going through a difficult time and all you see from them is lighthearted jokes and quips. You may share a serious concern with them and they greet this confidence with placating smiles, lectures of how it could be worse, and stories of the silver lining.

There is definitely a place for a positive attitude but only if the loss, pain, and concern are acknowledged first. If not, jumping to the happy place has its risks, as outlined below.

You appear inauthentic, fake, and shallow.

Jumping to the happy place without acknowledging the pain and loss may place you on a different emotional plane than the other person with whom you are communicating. Whether it is you experiencing the loss or the other person who just confided in you, defaulting immediately to an animated happy voice and tone may well convey the message that you don’t have the interest or capacity to understand the emotional toll the other person is paying. When you don’t match the emotional serious tone of the conversation, you may be demonstrating an inability to do so. The mismatch of your positive perky attitude in the face of tragic or serious news runs the risk of you appearing fake. 

You communicate that you don’t trust the other person.

When you are hesitant to share vulnerable, real, and raw emotions that are anything but positive, it may relay that you don’t trust the other person. In other words, your actions may be suggesting that this other person isn’t in your “inner circle”, and not part of the inner sanctum where you welcome only the most trusted. 

You can’t move forward until you acknowledge the loss.

In my “Bounce Forward” program ( based on The Finkelstein Factor book, I suggest that the number one step in flipping any negative situation to a positive outcome is acknowledging the loss. That pain of loss may be yours or someone else’s. Without understanding the pain, putting words around it, and embracing it completely, you will never be able to move forward and ultimately let it go.

Be real.

When presented with a difficult situation, instead of jumping to a sunshine and lollipops default, you will connect more profoundly by being real and sharing your pain while acknowledging that of others.


People relate to people, not perfection. No one wants misplaced positivity. And no one wants to share with someone they perceive as fake, untrusting, and oblivious to the pain of a situation.

Stay real. Stay authentic. Stay connected.

Do you know how to flip negative events into positive outcomes? This book will tell you.

THE FINKELSTEIN FACTOR ebook or print copy: 

Order here …  
Get proven tips, strategies, and techniques to flip any negative event to a positive outcome. This book equips you with a practical, step-by-step approach to meet life and work challenges head on. Marion guides you through questions and exercises that help build your resiliency to meet that difficulty you’re grappling with, or the one that awaits you just around the corner.

PS: Order the EBOOK from my website at the link above (vs. Amazon) and you save money!

©2023 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)

Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation” 
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Leadership communication expert, Marion Grobb Finkelstein shows leaders at any level how to build resilient and respectful workplaces by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at or and sign up for her FREE “Marion’s Communication Tips” at

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Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.


  • Hallam Carter says:

    As always, a very poignant and timely article for the challenges faced with transparent communication – in real world terms.
    I love the analogy of too much water.
    The insights you bring for authenticity and trust also resonate very strongly with me.

    Thank you for doing what you do!

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