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  • Lauren Bentley

What Is Toxic Positivity?

Like many, I grew up in the church which left me pondering many questions like; where are the women in the Bible and why when women are mentioned they are either whores, virgins or sinners? I also remember laying in bed at night, filled with a horror that I was going to burn in Hell for all eternity for lying to my parents or snooping in my sisters room. I was confused by how God could love me unconditionally, yet simultaneously judge me and damn me to Hell.

As I grew older and began to develop more free will, I stopped going to church and sadly began to turn my back on God. At least until I found Spirituality. At first it was beautiful. For the first time in my life I felt a close relationship with God. I found God in everything and everyone. My worship was in syncing prayer with hikes, journaling and yoga flows. I found I was able to connect with Him outside of the walls of the church and bring this peaceful energy into every part of my day.

Somewhere along the way I stumbled into the New Age movement. Many New Age beliefs are around reincarnation, astrology, Spirits within nature, psychics, and the law of attraction/quantum leaping. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely subscribe to much of these beliefs, but it was the law of attraction theory that really began to drive me to darkness.

Before continuing I feel it is important for me to state that the words I am going to express are only from MY experience. I am in no way shape or form trying to say that the way you teach, learn or practice LOA is wrong- again, this is just from my experience and who /how I was learning from.

Essentially, Law Of Attraction means like attracts like. What you think and feel is what you are creating for yourself. I absolutely love this part of this Universal Law. However, there are many concepts out there that teaches to ONLY feel the positive thought. Which to me is toxic positivity, spiritual bypassing and gaslighting. Within this part of LOA you are taught things like;

Anger is a signal that you need to work harder at a specific trigger

Love and light only

Positive vibes only

the ego is something to be defeated

You may also try to hide your true feelings, dismiss your emotions, dismiss/shame anothers’ feelings and emotions, or adopting the “it is what it is” mentality.

For many this leads to shame for having “bad” thoughts. We may feel like there is something wrong with us and we need to continue to work harder. We can also experience difficulty in our relationships and the effects of suppressed emotions. As I speak about often, just because the thought is out of the conscious mind doesn’t mean it has magically vanished. In fact, our bodies hold onto all of these emotions until you allow it to be the energy in motion it has always been meant to be (by expressing it). When we continue to suppress these emotions, they will get louder and manifest as dis-ease, illness, and pain within the body.

From what I have experienced, I can attest to the above statement as true. Discovering the law of attraction felt like finding the golden ticket in the chocolate bar. Everything I wanted was at my fingertips- it came with every thought, feeling and action. Which meant I had to have a strict birds eye view on every thought, feeling and action. Everything had to be positive. If I felt negative, or what I like to call, Heavy, I was wrong and I was creating a rough future for myself.

Every day I would sit at my altar to meditate and journal on all of my desires. But when they weren’t coming into fruition I questioned myself. I constantly felt shame for not being good enough and Not being strict enough on my thoughts. I felt I should be so much further along than what I was and had a really hard time finding joy and acceptance in the present moment- which began to drive a wedge between my family and I. I felt an immense amount of emptiness within me as I was going further away from our true Source- God, and closer to the obsession of money and earthly desires. Again, don’t get me wrong, I do not believe there is anything wrong with wanting money but I do believe when it is your main focus it will leave you feeling empty. Money is a made up energy- it will never fully fulfill.

One day, I woke up completely disgusted with everything I had been subscribing to. I was sick of feeling empty inside and absolutely sick of questioning my worth. I began to unfollow and unsubscribe from teachers of LOA, originally thinking I just needed a break and I could always follow again when ready.

With this spare time, I began to connect with all of me again. I rolled out my mat and moved my body in ways that I was being called to. I would feel the anger, rage, and grief inside but instead of pushing it away, I began to explore it. I would move and express it with my body through movement, sound and breath. I began to meet myself exactly where I was- loving and providing the nourishment needed.

One morning as I was writing in my journal, it hit me that I hadn’t questioned my worthiness in the longest time. In fact, I was feeling more whole, abundant, worthy and complete than ever before. My business felt good, my relationships felt good, I felt good. All of this without any sort of rules but instead meeting myself exactly where I was day by day, moment by moment.

This greatly changed my work with my clients. For the longest time, I was helping them manipulate their lives and business by using the LOA practices. After releasing toxic positivity, I became hyper aware of their verbiage of wanting to run from the heavy feelings, feeling like something was wrong with them. I instead began to invite them onto their mats to move, breathe and express. They bagan to have similar experiences as me. Finally finding the true meaning of being whole and worthy.

My life no longer requires a spiritual tool box to live by and there sure as hell is no longer a rulebook. Just me, meeting myself, loving myself and nurturing myself everyday, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your emotions are so intelligent. It’s your inner compass to show you where unmet needs are, where you may not be holding on to boundaries, and what it is that you really need. Don’t hide them, feel them and nurture them.

To hear more about this, I would love to invite you to listen to this podcast episode, It’s ok to not be ok. My good friend Jordan Lang interviewed me on her IGTV and I felt it was too good to not be on the Conscious Coaching Podcast. https://anchor.fm/lauren222/episodes/Its-OK-To-Not-Be-OK-enai4r


To explore the beauty of expressing your anger, I invite you to flow with Yoga for Anger. https://youtu.be/byqkHYa6D70


And to go deeper within this work, I offer 1:1, memberships and classes, please email me Lauren@gvhealthandwellness.net

Big love and many blessings,

Lauren


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