I recently came across a term called toxic positivity. It is defined as an overly excessive generalization of an optimistic or happy state, where one is expected to remain positive in all situations.
This term strongly resonated with me, especially since we are going through a pandemic. I have seen countless social media posts about making the most of the time we have, having no excuses for not meeting our goals or getting in the best shape of our lives or that we are stepping into an amazing new world.
Trust me, I am all for reaching goals and looking for opportunities. But for many people this may be an inappropriate if not impossible for them to do. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs visually captures what each of us needs to have in place to achieve self-actualization – which would be the place where we work toward our full potential.
Many of us are struggling with basic needs – how to pay the rent, keep the business afloat or to simply stay healthy. It is difficult to have a strong sense of security and safety when we have so much uncertainty going on.
In order for us to thrive, we need to focus first on making sure our physiological needs are met. Then we can look at ways to increase our sense of safety and security.
Belonging and love needs can also be more difficult at this time due to social distancing measures. Often meetings done over virtual platforms can remind us of the in-person connection we are no longer getting.
For me – personally – it may vary where I am at day to day. Some days I feel safe and secure, connected and able to work on things that give me a sense of accomplishment or purpose. I am able to get creative and move forward on my personal and professional goals. Other days I barely scrape by with the basics – sleeping in and ordering out for dinner.
I challenge you to give yourself permission to meet yourself where you are at. To not shame yourself for not doing self-actualizing work when you are feeling scared and uncertain. We will do the best we can with where we are at, which can absolutely vary day to day.
Please reach out no matter where you are at. We can get through things more effectively if we do them together.