Donnalyn Bartolome, a vlogger and social media influencer, recently received backlash from netizens after posting about how people should be thankful for having a job instead of being sad over the reality that after the holidays, they should go back to work.

The netizens highlighted the vlogger’s toxic positivity or the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset.

It has been known by other cultures and nationalities that Filipinos are truly happy people and that they still remain positive in the face of challenges. This trait, which is one of the things we love most about our countrymen, is called optimism. Optimism, coupled with planning and the right amount of work, is a basic formula for any Filipino faced with hardship. Filipinos are resourceful and are always thinking of solutions rather than prolonging discussions over the problem. With optimism comes hope that all efforts would be towards the achievement of the goals.

On the other hand, toxic positivity is a mindset which often downplays a real challenge or situation in a sort of unintentional gaslighting. Toxic positivity has been frequently done by people speaking from a position of privilege or those who did not have an experience over the challenge, thus, refusing or even ignoring that the problem is valid.

Toxic positivity is a problem in the Filipino society. However, at the end of the day, what is important is overcoming this culture by reinvigorating Filipino optimism.