Why The Good Vibes Only Mentality is Toxic and How to Reframe

Why The Good Vibes Only Mentality is Toxic and How to Reframe

You hear and see it everywhere: good vibes only. It’s on Instagram posts, t-shirts, tote bags, wallets—and it’s toxic. While the “good vibes only” mentality is good natured, it’s giving you the wrong idea; the idea that we can only ever be in a good mood. Ella Delancey explains why this is dangerous and unrealistic: 

“At its core, toxic positivity is based on the belief that a positive mindset is best, and that regardless of an experience, people should only have positive feelings in response to it. This behavior, however, suggests that negative or painful emotions are ‘bad’ and that they are something to be avoided. It results in the denial, minimisation, and invalidation of our valid, authentic emotional experiences.”

You may notice the effects of this toxic mentality yourself, feeling you should be grateful for what you have, guilty for feeling sad, or trying to hide a bad mood from your social media feed.

While maintaining a positive mindset can be valuable, it’s impossible to avoid emotions other than happiness—it’s the natural human condition. 

The question is, how do you reframe a message that can’t be avoided and live a fulfilling life, complete with every emotion on the feelings spectrum? Here are a few ways to take the best parts of “good vibes only” and leave the rest.

Let Your Emotions Guide You With Journaling

Emotions and feelings are like guideposts, pointing us toward something that we need to look at or address. Good vibes only encourages us to ignore those feelings, but I want you to reframe that mentality by doing the opposite. 

Instead, I want you to dig deeper into them and the best way to do that is to grab a journal, like our You Are Worthy Journal. If you struggle to simply open your journal and start writing, use these prompts to dig deeper into what’s happening: 

  • Where do I feel this emotion in my body?
  • What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I ask, “What is it trying to tell me?”
  • How do I desire to feel instead? What’s stopping me from feeling that way?
  • If I was to look at the “glass half full” how might I reframe this emotion?
  • What is this emotion telling me to do? (I.E. Take a nap, get rid of a bad client, giving yourself some time off?)

From this place of understanding, you can allow your emotions to show you the way. You’re not ignoring them to get to a “good vibes only” place, you’re honoring them. Bonus, when you know what those emotions mean and what they’re trying to tell you, you can take action and start creating a new reality for yourself.

Focus on Abundance and Gratitude

One element of “good vibes only” I like is that it reminds us of one simple truth: our energy dictates our life. The higher we vibrate, the more powerfully we can manifest and attract. Karson KcGinley, founder of HappyU Yoga explains how these energetic vibrations work:

“Everything in the universe is made up of molecules vibrating at different speeds. This includes trees, bodies, rocks, animals, thoughts, and emotions. Human vibrations are composed of everything from physical matter to the way you communicate the thoughts you think. In simple terms, some molecules vibrate faster and some vibrate slower; there are higher vibrations and lower vibrations.”

This is the basis for the Law of Attraction, which says that your vibration dictates what’s in your life. Tris Thorp, emotional healing expert, explains: 

“The Law of Attraction operates based on your unconscious mind. This means that whatever you’ve got going on inside will determine the things that are brought to you on the outside.”

While this doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to have a bad day, have a good cry, or crawl back into bed at 3pm, it does mean we can focus on shifting from that energy into one that allows us to vibrate higher.

What I mean is: when you allow yourself to feel the feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, or whatever is coming up, you get to choose the energy you shift into and therefore what you attract as a result.

The energies of abundance and gratitude allow us to shift into a higher vibrational state after honoring the hard feelings that are coming up.

For example, if you’re frustrated by not getting a client, let yourself feel the frustration and then shift into this new energy. You might remind yourself: I am abundant in opportunities to be resourceful or I am grateful for an opportunity to find an even better client.

In this way, you’re changing your energy to attract an even better client or shifting your mindset to see what you have rather than what you don’t.

The saying goes, “It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.” It’s guaranteed that we’ll get knocked down and feel those challenging feelings—but that doesn't mean we can’t get back up and change the story for ourselves.

If you’re new to abundance mindset and this way of thinking, tap into it with our favorite abundance meditations on Insight Timer.

Create Anchor Mantras

Just seeing the phrase “good vibes only” can be triggering. If you’re having a bad day, suddenly you feel guilty for not being in a good mood. That’s why it’s helpful to have mantras in your back pocket so you can reframe that toxic mentality in the moment. 

If you’re new to mantras, it’s helpful to start by understanding what they do for you. Mantras, like focusing on abundance and gratitude, are used for shifting your energy. Meditative Mind explains what a mantra is: 

“Mantra is a sacred, repetitive utterance of a word or a sound which penetrates the depths of our subconscious mind and helps in healing mind and body; filling the space in and around us with positive vibrations.”

While mantras originated as sounds like OM, a mantra can be any phrase or word that you repeat regularly to shift your energy. A mantra should be positive and focus on what you want to feel or become, rather than what you don’t. 

For example, instead of saying, “I don’t feel sad, I feel grateful” you might say, “I allow myself to feel both gratitude and sadness.” The key is to choose a mantra that you connect with. If it rings hollow and doesn’t connect, it won’t have the same effect. Here are a few mantras to personalize for yourself and use when you feel triggered by “good vibes only.”

  • When I feel all my emotions, I feel more fulfilled.
  • I listen to my emotions and let them guide me.
  • I allow myself to feel every emotion that comes to me.
  • I choose to feel it all.

You can check out these empowering mantras for more ideas too. The goal is to choose or create a mantra that reminds you that it’s okay to feel sad or mad—it’s part of being human. This can help counteract the guilt or shame that comes as a result of feeling we need to have a “good vibe” or be in a good mood at all times. 

Reframe the “Good Vibes Only” Mentality

You see it all around—but that doesn’t mean you have to feel “good vibes only” all the time. In fact, that’s nearly impossible because, as humans, we are conditioned to feel a range of emotions. What’s more, we can feel multiple emotions at once. We can be sad and grateful or angry and abundant in one single moment and often we do. 

Instead of forcing a good mood, let yourself feel all the feels and be guided by your emotions. Then shift into the energy you desire to feel so you can continue manifesting the life you want to live.


Jessica Thiefels is a published author, host of Mindset Reset Radio, CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, and co-founder of Don’t Ask How. She's been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. Jessica is on a mission to empower women to make their own rules and live with intention so they wake up every day excited about the life they get to live. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


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