• Toxic Positivity

  • Keeping It Real in a World Obsessed with Being Happy
  • By: Whitney Goodman
  • Narrated by: Whitney Goodman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (130 ratings)

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Toxic Positivity

By: Whitney Goodman
Narrated by: Whitney Goodman
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Publisher's Summary

A powerful guide to owning our emotions - even the difficult ones - in order to show up authentically in the world, from the popular therapist behind the Instagram account @sitwithwhit.

Every day, we’re bombarded with pressure to be positive. From “good vibes only” and “life is good” memes, to endless advice, to “look on the bright side”, we’re constantly told that the key to happiness is silencing negativity wherever it crops up, in ourselves and in others. Even when faced with illness, loss, breakups, and other challenges, there’s little space for talking about our real feelings - and processing them so that we can feel better and move forward.

But if all this positivity is the answer, why are so many of us anxious, depressed, and burned out?

In this refreshingly honest guide, sought-after therapist Whitney Goodman shares the latest research along with everyday examples and client stories that reveal how damaging toxic positivity is to ourselves and our relationships, and presents simple ways to experience and work through difficult emotions. The result is more authenticity, connection, and growth - and ultimately, a path to showing up as you truly are.

©2022 Whitney Goodman (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“More than a self-help book, this is a society-help book. It’s ambitious but based on the simple idea of being, as Goodman describes herself, ‘radically honest’ with each other. And it’s about not pushing don’t-worry-be-happy talk on everyone around you, including yourself. Isn’t that something to (genuinely) smile about?”
--Kimberly Harrington, The Washington Post

“I‘ll be forever changed by Toxic Positivity—before offering words of validation, I will choose what I say wisely. Whitney Goodman’s book unlocks the difference between being helpful and harmful. This trailblazing book will help you transform your perspective about positivity.“ --Nedra Glover Tawwab, bestselling author of Set Boundaries, Find Peace 

"Sorely needed….Whitney Goodman elegantly weaves together her personal and clinical experience, academic research and practical advice to offer us a refreshing antidote to the seemingly innocuous but ultimately harmful message of ‘good vibes only.’"  --Iris McAlpin, trauma professional

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Excruciating Vocal Fry Narration

The author’s excruciating vocal fry made this book which has great content impossible to listen to. My recommendation is to read the book. It’s unfortunate because the author is. PhD psychologist yet sounds like a jaded kardashian. Horrible persistent vocal fry.

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Brilliant and thoroughly researched

This book is how I've felt for the last 5-10 years and I thought it was just my own issues, but society has gotten disconcertingly obsessed with this new age cultural toxic positivity BS. All of it is fake. Some new kind of social posturing/ virtue signaling perhaps?

It's like a competition of who can be the most positive while quickly ridding of anything even faintly negative. It's sick stuff. It's all I see these days. Gary V, Tai lopez etc..all these con men influencer scammers targeting and preying on young adults and even kids with their empty affectation that ends up destroying countless lives for their profit. Even people like Joel Osteen preaching to millions of people for massive profits that God is going to give you all the things you want, materialism, vanity and all. You just have to be positive and believe!

Wanna be rich like me? Just be positive! Wanna be successful? Just be positive! You have chronic pain all over your body and illness and have lost multiple loved ones to suicide? You're just being negative! Be positive! I've experienced this from close friends even. Puke. It actually made me inconsolably angry when I realized this was a thing. I'm so sick of this new wave of cultural positivity.


There's a time and place but constantly forcing positive emotions when you're not expressing what you really feel is an extremely dangerous coping mechanism and I know from experience. Feel what you feel. It's healthy. Doesn't mean stop trying or stop being ambitious. Just be real with yourself, most people aren't.

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THIS BOOK IS BEYOND AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

I preordered this book the moment I knew it existed, and finished listening to it a day after it came out! I’m currently re-listening to it as I write this review because I’m just obsessed with it. I’m so sick of people using Toxic Positivity to force us to be happy when we’re clearly struggling. This book is so validating and I don’t think I’ve ever loved a book this much. Toxic Positivity can be so annoying and invalidating especially around topics like mental health. I personally struggled with it a lot and can’t thank the author enough for writing this incredible book!!!!!

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Fantastic, especially for people with chronic illness / disability

If you have a chronic illness / disability or care about someone who does, this book is a must read! The amount of toxic positivity our community faces on a DAILY basis from (usually well-meaning people) is enough to drive anyone insane with feelings of frustration, invalidation, isolation. This book won’t cure your illness / disability, BUT, it will validate your experience and make you feel more sane.

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Loved it

Longtime follower of her instagram account & I absolutely loved her book. The book is loaded with examples how positivity is forced on us. There’s many examples how to be more authentic with ourselves and with others, instead of conforming to toxic positivity.

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This has answers!

Subject matter covered very well by a practitioner in the field. I’ll confess this is confirmation bias for me, as I’ve been skeptical of the whole”power of positive thinking” genre for decades.

The author’s definition of toxic positivity is any comment that tends to negate another persons feelings. People have feelings! Acknowledge them and listen. Help them feel them or back off. Think of the bright side, or others have had so much worse are going in the wrong direction and do more harm than good.

Fulfilling read!

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I wish everyone would read this!

This author’s explanation of the effects of the positivity movement on our current culture is spot on and reading this was very affirming and powerful.

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Toxic positivity

It’s incredibly annoying lately to hear someone say you’re so negative or I need positivity only. I appreciate this book and it’s content. I hope more folks will read this and understand we are all just people not toxic and hurtful it can be to tell someone to just be more positive (like that’s going to fix anything).

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Learned loads!

Loved it! Taught me alot about some of the things I've questioned in the past..

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Life isn't Roses

It was good to hear a different yet interesting narrative that provoked realistic insights mixed with everyday struggles... it made you take accountability for your own toxic yet positive behaviors(unbeknownst to yourself) and made you think more on ways to have more compassion for yourself and others.