You can hear the word toxic being thrown around heaps these days. Toxic Masculinity, Toxic Friends, or Toxic by Britney it’s everywhere! But, the reason we are hearing this phrase more often is simply that some things are doing more harm than we remember now. So not only just in the possibility that you might offend someone, but just in how it will affect your mental wellbeing and others.
Some of these phrases have been many people’s go-to, to cheer others up. But now moving forward hopefully knowing of some mentally healthier alternatives will improve your overall wellbeing!
Don’t Worry, Just Be Happy
This one is as old as time itself. Because whether you were told this when you were growing up, or by Bobby McFerrin in 1988 you’ve definitely been told this at least once.
On the surface, it is just a gentle reminder to not focus on the bad and just move on smile and it’ll all get better. But for the same reason, it appears all well and good is the same reason it isn’t.
It can be approached from two angles. So either you have some problems currently bothering you, whereas this phrase tells you to ignore them and feign happiness. Or to someone with anxiety they’re being told to ignore their condition and symptoms and to more or less “get over it”. And this might seem trivial to some but with over 280 million people affected by anxiety disorders worldwide, it’s important to be considerate.
So for an alternative try “I hear your frustration”. This allows the other person to feel heard and understood. Just because someone trusts in you to reveal their feelings doesn’t always mean they’re looking for a solution.
There is definitely something to be said about staying hopeful. Hope has helped countless people out of near-death or stressful situations. But it all comes back to wanting to be heard. “Stay Positive” is a bandaid solution to a lifelong battle, usually fought in solitude.
As an alternative, try “It’s okay to feel that way”. This reestablishes a much more positive connection to one’s emotions. Being reassured that what you are feeling is valid and normal, leads to fewer people bottling up their feelings and more people seeking help when they need it.
Keep Calm and Carry On
If you spent any amount of time on Social Media back in 2009 you definitely remember this one making the rounds. In short, this one is telling others, to take a deep breath and move on. The flaw here is that it reinforces that it isn’t okay to feel or display your emotions. It’s this path of thought that leads to a world of emotionless robots.
Next time go for “I’m here for you no matter what”. Obviously, this one is reserved for those probably fairly close to you. Subtly letting someone know that they can emote around you and not put up a wall, is a world of relief for so many people.
Maybe it isn’t just for close loved ones, if you see a stranger suffering maybe let them know “I’m here for you no matter what”. Could be the start of a new friendship, and if not it’ll be your good deed for the day!
In the world of dude & bruh skater guys, this does come off as a term of endearment.
As you can see a lot of these relate back to each other to provide one singular message. It’s okay to feel. From displaying your emotions as a big burly man to crying in public it is all okay and encouraged. Don’t let those feelings stay inside to build up into something worse.