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If you've heard the phrase, 'Positive Vibes Only,' or 'Good Vibes Only' and thought it was infuriating, there's a reason.

The saying 'positive vibes only' is full of toxic positivity.

RELATED: 4 Signs Those 'Positive Thinking' Quotes Are Hurting Your Mental Health (& What To Do About It)


In order to truly be happy, is it healthy to pretend that negativity and bad feelings or emotions don’t exist?

According to experts, shoving the feelings you consider “unhealthy” down to ignore them or pretend they aren’t happening isn’t just bad for you … It’s downright toxic.

The truth is that people have a huge range of feelings and emotions, and each of those is important for you to experience.

So just where did the idea of #PositiveVibesOnly come from?

Positive vibes are great. Wishful thinking, being hopeful, and feeling good about something coming up or a decision you made can be fantastic!


However, these are not the feelings you’ll have all the time. And for a fully-functional sense of emotional health and emotional intelligence, you need to honor all of your feelings and treat them with the same level of respect.

The meaning of positive vibes only is all about thinking positive, staying positive, and spreading positivity.

The saying is also recognized as good vibes only and it comes from the saying "good vibes" which started in the late '60s after The Beach Boys released their hit single "Good Vibrations" in 1966. The hashtag on social media started around 2011 and so on and in popular culture, is now being used everywhere. 

Unfortunately, the saying has been questioned and talked about in recent day as toxic positivity, which is the belief that if you're staying positive you can overcome every obstacle and challenge in your life, that in point you're invalidating your natural emotional responses when you or any other person has those feelings.

The saying "positive vibes only" provides for wishful thinking of your and others' life and goals for the future, and by repeating that saying, you are then shaming and excluding the people who aren't positive or happy all the time, or can't think their way to happiness. 


Your emotions are an important part of who you are as a person, and your negative vibes shouldn’t be ignored.

And a hashtag is for sure not going to change a way of thinking or feeling, no matter how hard you try. 

And that's why we asked YourTango Experts to weigh in on the truth as to why your emotions — all of them, not just the “positive” ones — are crucial to you being a truly healthy, happy person.

RELATED: 13 Toxic Things Mentally Strong People Never Do

1. You need closure and resolution.

"Feeling your negative emotions lets you know that you are human and have issues to resolve. Want to live a joyful and happy life? Then honor yourself by seeing why you have these emotions and what it will take to be cleansed of them. Sometimes, therapy may be needed — or merely speaking up to someone can help."


Barbara Becker Holstein, psychologist and originator of The Enchanted Self

2. There are important benefits to experiencing negative emotions.

"'Positive' and 'negative' describe the back and forth between two opposing states. When you focus on these 'all or nothing' emotional states, you miss connecting to the smaller yet powerful messages that your body sends you. It's within these workable moments that you find reasoning, logic, and a sense of understanding the good and the bad."

Hayley Rayner, an LPC-s who works with couples

3. Negative emotions help keep you safe.

"Negative emotions help you identify a boundary you could set to keep yourself safe. Wishing that others were nicer to you ends up with you feeling more frustration and hurt. No one has control over another’s actions. Setting a boundary is where you have complete control of your own safety."


—​ Teresa Maples-Zuvela, licensed mental health counselor and certified addiction specialist

4. You can't avoid a natural part of yourself.

"The issue that arises when you label emotions ‘positive' or ‘negative' is that you put your focus on the ones you think are 'good' and try to avoid the ones you think of as bad. As a result, you miss out on what half your emotions are trying to tell you. Instead of asking, 'Is this good emotion or bad emotion?' the more helpful question is, 'Is this emotion serving me or not in this situation?' Emotions are the energy that moves you — neither inherently positive or negative."

Dan Newby, trainer, coach, author, and founder of the School of Emotions

5. You must feel everything unapologetically.

'You want to feel positive, but when you expect or demand 'positive vibes only,' there’s no space for the range of healthy emotions that align naturally with your true experiences. Life is filled with blissful highs, painful lows, and everything in-between that you need to feel unapologetically. Your body, mind, and soul need to process and release difficult emotions or they become toxic. You must take full responsibility and own how you feel and let it go, which is what allows you to love, learn, and continue to grow."


Carolyn Hidalgo, relationship coach

6. Embracing yourself is the only way to freedom.

"When you find neutrality to all energy, you experience spiritual freedom. Yet when you make an effort to only experience 'positive' vibes and resist 'negative' vibes, you lose your freedom and become bound by outside influence rather than your own unique internal vibration."

Aimee Leigh, intuitive clairvoyant teacher, mentor, and author

7. Ignoring your negative feelings will only hurt you.

"There is no healing without feeling. There is also no real intimacy without feeling. It's in allowing and expressing your full range of emotions, without judgment, that you become fully alive, revitalized, and intimately connected with one another."


Sacha Fossa, holistic sex coach, educator, and healing arts practitioner

8. You can't make good decisions by ignoring what you feel.

"To make good decisions in life, you need both your negative and positive emotions. Trying to eliminate all negative emotions can lead to poor judgment. Additionally, so-called negative emotions like anger or crying help to release inner pain.

Karen Gless, Ph.D., marriage and family therapist and registered nurse

9. You must find the good alongside the bad.

"It backfires when you try to ignore or repress negative emotions like anger and fear in any relationship because buried feelings never die. Since smart partners and savvy business leaders assume diamonds (better ways of working together) are resting peacefully underneath every jagged lump of coal (a negative emotion) they accept, then thoughtfully and carefully explore conflicts, anger, fear, etc. with the curiosity of a small child and without judging the other person harshly."


Doris Helge, certified leadership and executive coach

10. You can use your negative emotions to become stronger.

"I am often leery of those who always seem to be happy. It's the negative emotions I experience, the ones of fear, anger, resentment, abandonment, rejection, and/or regret that help me find the courage to become a better person. It's the emotions I dare to look at that provide the courage for personal growth — growth that helps me create the space to find my true and organic self."

—​ Susan Dykes, spiritual healing coach

11. Positive vibes only can keep you from growing.

"Someone who is too positive often comes across as naive and not worthy of your trust. Being aware of your negative emotions helps you to figure out what can go wrong and prepare an effective action plan to make it happen in spite of your negative emotions."


Sara Yogev, psychologist and author

12. You can make yourself sick by ignoring your needs.

"Everyone experiences a full range of emotion. Denying the 'negatives' causes symptoms, stress, and physical illness. They have to go somewhere. If you don’t pay attention when you first feel something negative, it tends to intensify until you do pay attention so problems and feelings get bigger."

Lori Beth Bisbey, sex coach and psychologist

13. Never addressing pain makes it stay.

"What you resist persists. Negative emotions in the body, unacknowledged and unresolved, build up pressure over time that obstructs normal cell functioning. This can lead to all types of health issues."


Kei Lam, relationship coach and the founder of the Compassion-Activation healing technique

14. Feeling allows healing.

"Feeling all of your emotions, including the negative ones, allows their essence or energy to flow through you and create a more balanced life experience. It's the healthiest way to transform and release your feelings so you can keep moving forward and create the life you want. According to the 'Law of Polarity,' you live in a universe of polar opposites, so feeling the negative emotions is the contrast that will help you get clearer about how you do want to feel and then consciously attract more of those feelings by using the Law of Attraction."

Nada Howarth, certified Law of Attraction life coach, reiki teacher, and author

15. Stuffing things down only makes them come back stronger.

"Ever heard the phrase, 'If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?' Not! If you follow that edict, you’re going to end up sounding treacly and superficial and you’ll likely stuff your own emotions down, which is a recipe for a major explosion at some point. When you’re able to express pain, fear, or anger effectively, you’re honoring the breadth of human experience that makes you more real and whole on every level — mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually."


Deborah Roth, relationship coach and the founder of Spirited Living

16. Be mindful of your health — all of it.

"Expecting others or yourself to have/show only positive vibes can be toxic. It is healthy to be able to feel and talk about your negative emotions. People need better education regarding mental health. Being able to feel and talk about negative emotions helps you to understand them and move forward to have a healthy and positive life."

Suzanne Geimer, registered nurse and the founder of Special Angel Inc

17. Painful feelings are unavoidable and you shouldn't be ashamed of them.

"When you experience a life change or a loss, such as a job loss, breakup, or death, it seems easier to deny your feelings and numb them with 'happy thoughts.' But unpleasant, painful feelings are unavoidable in life. It's much healthier to acknowledge and safely express shock, fear, anger, and sadness and then forgive yourself and others, so you can finally move on. Skipping a step keeps you stuck; feeling your feelings is the path to freedom."


Lisa Petsinis, life coach who focuses on stress management

18. Welcome in the feelings to help them pass.

“'Toxic positivity' keeps you from embracing the discomfort of negative emotions. But consider that you must welcome the fear, pain, and anxiety of a challenge to run your first marathon, return to school after a hiatus, go on your first meditation retreat, or try your first post-break-up date. Allowing the negative feelings in opens you up to new, enriching experiences. Pursue something a little scary — this is the true road to happiness."

Judith Tutin, psychologist and certified life coach

19. Your feelings are trying to tell you something.

"'Negative emotions' exist to communicate something to you ... sadness or grief communicates how much you care about something or someone. Anger lets you know that something is not right and requires action. Fear or anxiety is meant to prepare you. These emotions aren't bad ... they actually work in your best interest if you pay attention to them!"


Amy Sargent, marriage and family therapist

20. Being aware of your emotions is a sign of wisdom.

"While a chronic habit of negative thinking can indeed be toxic, temporary negative feelings are actually a signal that the body's innate wisdom is working well. Your system is looking for a way to purge you of negativity so you can clear what's blocking your ability to be positive in that moment. If you never let the negative emotions out, you actually cut yourself off from this natural healing process and are sabotaging your ability to rise on up out of the doldrums."

Abigail Wald, parenting coach and co-host of the Hand in Hand Parenting podcast

21. Ignoring your feelings causes imbalance.

"Life is a flow between opposing forces. When you choose one force over the other, the essential balance is upended. When you relax into the presence of both the positive and the negative, a deep contentment arises. Embracing both sides of the coin of emotion reveals the hidden wisdom of your feelings, and grants a taste of the freedom you yearn to call your own."


Ragini Michaels, international NLP trainer, coach, mentor, and author

22. Your reaction is important.

"The only 'negative' thing about emotions you don't like is what happens if you act on them. There's powerful energy in 'negative' emotions. With practice, you can learn to use that energy safely and effectively without personal harm. To do this, practice meeting 'negative' emotions with confidence and skill. You can teach yourself to do this by listening to music that makes you feel angry, scared, or sad, which allows the emotional energy to rise up and pass away safely, leaving you balanced and empowered emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually."

Bill Protzmann, IT entrepreneur and the founder of Music Care Inc


23. You may not understand, but they're still necessary.

"Emotions are complex. To limit them to 'positive vibes only' is to reduce what you allow yourself to feel. After all, to heal it, you have to feel it! And that’s healthier and more strongly associated with well-being than is positive vibing through life."

Elayne Daniels, psychologist and yoga teacher

24. Don't allow yourself to get "stuck."

"Denying negative emotions results in them going 'underground' and getting stuck. I believe that you can never really leave an emotion you haven’t fully visited! The expression of negative emotions in a healthy, responsible way allows for you to move through them with greater ease."

Mary Kay Cocharo, counselor and therapist


25. Letting your feelings fester can be very bad.

"You know how when you leave leftovers in the back of your fridge they start to stink? That’s how it works when you refuse to deal with so-called negative emotions. If you stifle a feeling too long, chances are it comes out harshly."

Jean Fitzpatrick, marriage counselor and psychotherapist

26. You cannot avoid these feelings.

"The most difficult parts of any marriage are the overwhelming feelings of neediness, vulnerability, and dependency you're struck with when your lives are so completely entwined with another. You cannot avoid these feelings, but for many, these can be extremely uncomfortable, and you push against them. To have a truly great marriage, you need to embrace the discomfort of your neediness; make friends with your dependency; and maybe even lean into your vulnerability."

Ashley Seegar, LCSW, couples' counselor and author


27. You must temper your emotions.

"It's great to be positive. It needs to be tempered with reality and boundaries so you don't go beyond what is possible and hurt yourself or hurt others. Don't try to do too many things; look after yourself with self-care."

Audrey Tait, psychotherapist and counselor

28. Ignoring these feelings can leave you empty.

"Positive energy is transformative —when the positive vibe is authentic and not fraught with unprocessed emotional undertones, that is. Going along to get along is toxic if you're masking your truth. Beneath an unauthentic smile lies fear, anger, shame, or sadness and the belief that you are not enough."

Anna Thea, author and sex educator


RELATED: 4 Ways To Stop Your Unconscious Thoughts & Feelings From Ruining Your Life

Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and fiction author living in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their cat. You can follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.