Toxic Positivity: Don’t Say “I’m Fine” When You Are Not

I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine. How many times have you said it when you are actually not? Probably a countless number of times. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who didn’t do this. By saying that, we think we are being strong but is it so? Let me tell you, it’s NOT. Then what is it? It’s a thin layer of toxic positivity we all wear to hide our true emotions. Just two words, “I’m fine”, we say it and feel safe. But are we really? It might seem easier to say that rather opening up about what you are feeling. It feels safer to keep our feelings locked inside.

We always tell each other to stay positive, we post about it on social media, talk big things and all but we forget that there is another side to this, toxic positivity.

And why do we do that?

Because we are afraid people might think we are weak if we reveal our truth. I did it myself many times until one day I realized where I was doing wrong and how much it affected me. The more I suppressed my feelings, the heavier my heart felt, the more I felt lost. We all do things differently from one another but when it comes to feelings we all react in the same way. We scream when we are angry, we smile when we are happy, and we cry when we are sad. It’s the same for all of us. This is the truth we all know.

toxic positivity

But when did we start to think that showing our sadness will make us weak?

Take a moment and understand how nonsensical that is.

I did that too and trust me, I know it didn’t feel good at all. I also know people who said “I’m fine” to me but I know they are not, the same way when I said “I’m fine” the other person also can feel that I’m actually not. Although we just go past that question and try to have a non-personal conversation. Because the other person steps back thinking maybe they are not yet ready to share. And here you are waiting for them to say “but you don’t seem fine, are you okay?’ And this is a never-ending saga.

We think we perfectly managed to camouflage our real feelings but who do you think we are tricking here? Ourselves. If we keep on trying to give ourselves some fake assurance, we are never gonna be able to face our problems. This is toxic positivity. We should face the truth head-on and try to figure a solution with a positive mindset. That, my friend, is real positivity.

Contrary to that, what we are doing is overlooking the truth because we are scared it might trigger some unwanted emotions. Take things on a lighter note. It is what it is. If you are feeling sad, you are. There’s nothing we can change about that, and there’s also nothing wrong to feel so. All we have to remember is, it shall pass too. Nothing lasts forever. Neither sadness nor happiness. If you are sad now, you will happy next. If you are happy now, you are gonna be sad later just to be happy again after a while. It’s a cycle.

I have a friend and she’s been going through a lot these days. I’m concerned for her and I’ve tried to ask her several times how she was doing. But every single time, she puts on a happy face and says she’s fine and conveniently diverts the topic to some casual convo. She’s not ready to share because she might be thinking it’s weak to show her sadness. But…

Is it really weak to show sadness?

In my opinion, NO. Actually, just the opposite. It is very strong to show one’s emotions and feelings. It takes a lot of guts. Don’t you think? Have you ever spoke your mind, quite literally? Try it and you will know how difficult it is. Anyway, why do we even bother to paint a happy picture all the time for others? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Life is very short, when are we going to really live when we are constantly busy trying to edit out our emotions? Tell how you feel, tell what you like, tell what you want. So simple. And eventually, you will see how you will appreciate yourself for being who you are.

I really hope I convinced you to be more open about your feelings because I want you to be happy and free. I want you to be positive but know what is real and what is toxic positivity. Understand what is important, just showing others that you are being positive or to be actually positive.

I’ll see you soon again!

Lots of LOVE,



Toxic positivity: Don't say "I'm fine" when you are NOT
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Toxic positivity: Don't say "I'm fine" when you are NOT
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Nikki's talk
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70 thoughts on “Toxic Positivity: Don’t Say “I’m Fine” When You Are Not

  1. Love love love this! As someone who writes about mental health, it is imperative for people to speak up and be true to themselves. We need to quit defaulting to “I’m fine” and truly speak up for what we need and how we feel.

  2. I felt that the same few years back.. when my favourite actor Aamir Khan cries in movies. Why can’t we men cry in public!!! Actually we were said men shouldn’t cry as it shows men are weak..
    Well said – ” our perspective,approach to do things might differ but Emotions are emotions,those are universal ” your article stands out well in this point

    Thanks nikhila

    1. What you said is absolutely true. Men or women, it doesn’t who you are, it’s perfectly normal t show your emotions. I’m glad you liked the article.

  3. I used to do this a lot because I don’t want to burden my husband with me being bummed out, sometimes I go through periods when I get sad for no reason. I have two amazing children, a great husband, a decent job, a house over our heads and a car so I feel like I shouldn’t be sad but sometimes I just get into a funk. It is helpful having someone to help you so I agree, if you aren’t fine let someone know.

  4. I think that it is in our culture to say “fine” when we ask how we are, we respond automatically without even thinking about it. It’s the same with the person who asks, most of them don’t actually want to know how you really are, it’s just a method of greeting.

    1. True, it might be a method of greeting but sometimes you gotta be honest to people you are close to. They ask it to genuinely know how we are doing.

  5. I feel like saying “I’m fine” is passive/aggressive. It serves no purpose unless you are just fine. When you are upset you are not serving anyone keeping it in, especially yourself. All you are doing is letting the person or thing that upset you get away with it. We as people are worth so much more than we give ourselves credit for. If this a repeat behavior or situation, you have 2 options you can change the outcome or remove yourself from the person or situation.

    Such a great post thank you for sharing!

  6. This is absolutely right, I feel like sometimes I’m just on auto-pilot so I say “I’m fine”, if I don’t it’ll open up conversations and discussions which o don’t think I’m ready for. Still a work in progress here 😓

  7. I’m definitely the person that says I’m fine when I’m not. Thank you for sharing this post. I love that we’re more open to talk about mental health these days.

  8. I usually only say “I’m not fine” to people I trust or whom i want to express my true feelings to. Not everyone who asked me, I’d be comfortable with revealing my inner thoughts.

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I try to practice positivity everyday but now realise that I need to know when it’s a toxic positivity. Really helpful. Thanks x

  10. We all need to look after each other more often. How often do we hear “I’m fine” from a loved one but they don’t look that way? We need to be more empathic and know how to dig a little deeper in a kind way when someone says “I’m fine”.

  11. I never do. I say what’s wrong when it’s wrong. I don’t hold anything in. I don’t think that helps ANY relationship AT ALL – plus, my husband can tell when something is wrong.

  12. Good article! I definitely think that learning to ask for help and accepting support is really invaluable. It’s hard to pretend like everything is fine when it’s not. While it’s not necessary to tell your story to everyone, it’s important to let the people who are close to you support you through your tough times. I hope your friend finds the ability to do so :0)

  13. We must stop worring about how others feel or think about us ! That should not be the number one priority in our life. Our mental state counts the most !

  14. It’s so crazy how society teaches us to just shove our feelings in a box and hide them under the bed. I really like your perspective and totally agree with you!

  15. I’m an avid user of the I’m fine phrase. I suffer from anxiety and depression, so it’s hard sometimes to want to be open about how I’m feeling. I don’t use the phrase as much as I use to though.

  16. I have this bad habit of hiding my feelings from people. i know it’s not good for me, both mentally and physically. I just shut people so that k dont break down and people end up seeing me as a weak person. Thank you so much for this. I really needed this, i will try to share from now on. ❤️

  17. To be able to deal with a problem, we need to accept it first. Saying I am fine when one is not can be toxic as mentioned by you. I hope people read this post and understand that.

  18. I LOVE this! I’m a chronic “I’m fine” person. Doesn’t matter if it’s physical or emotional issues, “I’m fine” is my go to response when someone asks if I’m ok or how I’m doing. I don’t want to burden others with my issues. For me it’s not so much about looking weak as much as just not wanting others to feel like they HAVE to help me. Everyone else is going through their things and mine shouldn’t be pushed on them. It’s not a good trait to have at all. I’ve been working on it though.

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