Dec 8, 2022

The Problem with Toxic Positivity with Whitney Goodman

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Authenticity, Mental Health, Parenting, Social Media, Toxic Positivity


Meet Whitney Goodman, LMFT — a radically honest psychotherapist behind the hugely popular Instagram account @sitwithwhit, author, and the owner of The Collaborative Counseling Center, a virtual therapy practice in Florida. Whitney’s debut book, Toxic Positivity: Keeping it Real in a World Obsessed with Being Happy, shows readers how to shift the goal from being happy to being authentic in order to live fully. In this episode, we discuss toxic positivity and how a “good vibes only” mentality, while good intentioned, can actually backfire when we’re denying and dismissing the hardships of life.


  • What the term toxic positivity means, and why constantly striving to maintain a positive outlook isn’t actually helpful or realistic when it comes to mental health
  • How social media perpetuates toxic positivity and shame through an absence of realness
  • How to avoid the anxiety and comparison that comes with the constant positivity on social media
  • Why keeping it real and not forcing positivity leads to deeper, more sincere connections
  • The best way you can show up for someone who’s going through a hard time

00:00 Intro

01:01 Toxic positivity

02:51 Cultural gaslighting

03:24 Gratitude, toxic positivity & the internet

04:47 History of toxic positivity

08:06 The absence of realness on social media

10:53 Social media boundaries

12:59 The cultural shift beyond constant positivity

15:00 The effects of toxic positivity on connection

21:14 Connection between cancel culture and toxic positivity

24:18 Toxic positivity in relationships

28:01 Stop trying to save people

31:51 Relationships with parents

37:00 Gender roles in parenting

38:42 Life without a smartphone and the internet

41:42 Living in alignment with your values