Wellness Wednesday: ‘Everything Happens for a Reason,’ Toxic Positivity
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” This phrase is one of the best-known examples of toxic positivity and can be harmful when used around people who need our empathy and support.
Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital, tells us two primary situations in which this phrase is used.
On one hand, many people use this phrase when looking back at a time in their life that has helped them grow, such as recovering from a bad breakup. English says that this phrase comes from within after seeing how far you’ve come.
However, this phrase shouldn’t be used when trying to comfort a friend. English stresses that there is no excuse for someone’s death, abuse or illness, and that telling people that they are suffering for a reason minimizes their emotions and concerns.
English reaffirms that people tend to use this phrase when they don’t know what else to say. She encourages us to try to understand where someone is coming from and to use extreme caution before ever resorting to toxic phrases like this one.