Getting to Yes, And

Whitney Goodman: Toxic Positivity


Whitney Goodman

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Kelly sits on the couch across from Whitney Goodman, the radically honest psychotherapist behind the popular Instagram account @sitwithwhit - to talk about her new book Toxic Positivity.

What is toxic positivity?

“So, toxic positivity is when we use a positive phrase, or pusch happiness or whatever positive thing you're using to deny a feeling and demand that we put a positive spin on it. And you can do this to yourself, you can do it to other people. And it is everywhere.”

Some examples?

“Yeah, ‘You have so much to be grateful for,’  ‘Just smile,’ ‘It could be worse,’  ‘At least X didn't happen.’ All of these really well intentioned pieces of advice that really, I think, just make me want to scream.”

You talk about understanding your audience - which is something we know a lot about at Second City - how do you apply this to toxic positivity?

“Yes, so most people that use toxic positivity have very good intentions, they want to be helpful. Their impact, unfortunately, is rarely in line with their intentions. And I think that we have to realize when we're helping people that our impact is more important than our intent. So we need to be impactful in a way that's beneficial for the other person and is actually helpful, not just in the way that makes us feel like a good helper.”

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