social influencer

Toxic Positivity: A Feedback Loop of Delusional Thinking

Positive vibes only! I’m positive that many of you have heard that phrase time and time again. Whether it’s a post from a ditsy person you follow or from a friend and/or coworker that is cleaning house on the dim vibes their social circle is providing in excess, there’s no shortage of this mentality nowadays. There’s nothing discernable with excluding things and at times people from your life that drain you more than inspire you but there’s always a logical extreme that a new perspective can invite. Inside these artificial injections of good feelings into varying difficulties in life lies a dark side to the dosage that proves just as harmful as a purely pessimistic point of view.

Toxic positivity is that extreme in which any perceived negative experience is rendered mute when one simply brushes said event aside with a positive note. Indeed there is nothing wrong with trying to toughen one’s hide when school or work or romance isn’t playing fair by remaining bright in dark moments but people should proceed with caution. The problem arises with the excess of this method, treating things like sadness, anger, or even criticism with the same vigor as a household pest. Emotions are infinitely more complex than that. Despite mental protests to feelings of sadness, the emotion felt shouldn’t be suppressed with a faux smile but rather it should be simply felt and hopefully dealt with. It won’t be easy especially during the trial but as the age-old adage of the only way out is through ultimately etches the proper mode of operation.

Image via The Aggie

Negative feelings aren’t necessarily blights to be excised like an infection it’s a natural part of being a healthy person in an ever-challenging world. It sets a terrible precedent when you ask troubled young individuals to refuse their emotions with thoughts like “You’re doing great” and “Think happy thoughts”. In reality, it mostly leads to insidious feelings of guilt over being angry or sad in the first place. The feedback loop occurs when this guilt born of dismissiveness leaves no room for psychological growth because the negativity wasn’t dealt with nor was it properly felt, it was crudely jammed under the floorboards of the mind. When the next tear-worthy event happens the same few sayings are used again starting the process anew. If it’s not put in check with a fair amount of honesty then the nightmarish wheel turns unending eventually leading the individuals into a delusional point of view about negativity whether constructive or otherwise.

As a sufferer of depression myself, I’m well aware of the damaging effects of dishonest thoughts on both edges of the spectrum. Overtly negative thought cycles were the norm when my case was at its worst and it took what seems like forever to fish myself out of that hole. The stepping stones weren’t built from the same material each level up, it was consistently inconsistent. I didn’t climb from thoughts of radical positivity nor did I purely run off the noxious fumes of self-hate. I appreciated both sides and added a dash of objectivity until months passed and I realized I was in a better place than before.

Soon I’d come across social media posts pushing for this toxic positivity point of view to followers for years with it seemingly peaking on the biggest platform of the medium Tik Tok. In between the short clips of paunchy women cutting jigs to random pop music are videos of young men and women pushing for everyone to always feel wonderful. I don’t wish to siphon the message of its goodness as I know these can be healthy reminders to take life a little less seriously when things get tough but there should be a cap. Sweet thoughts like these should be taken in moderation like candy lest viewers risk a life ache so to speak. It’s a classic case of impact versus intention because these content creators are usually sufferers themselves the last thing they’d want is for people’s cases to worsen from their message. Thankfully there is a better way to deal out positivity without it morphing into an ouroboros of a self-hating head eating its own patronizing tail.

Image via Chicago Public Library

Toxic positivity gained a decent amount of traction in the literary world as well. Recently the phenomenon amassed a handful of authors to write books against the belief system albeit in a more righteous fashion. Books like Briah Fleming’s Be Positive: Fuck Toxic Positivity and T.R. Tucker’s Toxic Positivity are just a few of many short books that affirm a positive attitude toward life while acknowledging negativity in a healthy way to ward off the toxicity of either end of the thought spectrum. Tucker’s entry even warns of the ever-increasing verbiage of motivational speakers as a particularly unrecognized sore spot since the coming of the digital age. These authors seek a more honest approach to alleviate the anxious and depressed while making sure the feelings being dealt with are at the very least constructive to someday inspire hope in the troubled hearts of so many out there, not purely striving off of it. So in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’d also like to throw in a positive yet diligent thought to my fellow depressives out there dealing with some less than favorable times:

Hope is life’s sweetest spice. It enhances the flavor of any recipe it touches but it is not the whole recipe. It’s not the meat nor the vegetables for spices can only mold the working parts together into true satisfaction but the spice can be deceiving. It can fool the most skilled of tounges into believing it’s the only delicious component. It convinces them so much so that the deceived fill their mouths with spice until it foams and forces them to crudely cough the specks of what was once pure and beautiful toward the starving few. The meat and the broth and the vegetables aren’t beautiful like the spice in fact some are truly grueling but they’re all key in the recipe. Each part working to culminate to true satisfaction only to be brought together with only a pinch of vigor. As such life needs hope but it is not the whole recipe. Use your spices wisely my friends.

Meet Our Bookstagrammer of the Week: @stackedshelves

What’s the story of your Bookstagram?

I first started my Bookstagram back in February 2019, as a way to get back into reading fiction after reading almost exclusively academic books and articles for my degree. I was spending so much time browsing other feeds that I thought I may as well give it a shot, and here we are!

image via @stackedshelves

What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world?

Hopefully, to inspire a sense of peace and an escape from reality for anyone who visits my page! And of course, to encourage people to read the books I love. 

Favorite Bookstagrammers?

There are so many great Bookstagrammers out there – some of my favorites include: 







Favorite books and authors?

The Great Gatsby, Rebecca, and The Picture of Dorian Gray are some of my favorite books! As for authors, I love Taylor Jenkins-Reid, Bret Easton-Ellis, and Leigh Bardugo. 

TBR List?

At the top of my list is The Night Circus because I read it years ago and can’t remember anything, so I’m in need of a refresh! I’m also very eager to read Ninth House because it sounds amazing. 

image via @stackedshelves

Do you have a special approach to sharing content?

A lot of my followers think I have someone help me take my photos, but 99% of them are taken by myself with a tripod and a self-timer. I set aside an hour or two in a day when I have some free time and try out different outfits and angles until I find a shot that I like. I usually take quite a few photos in the same spot and then scatter them throughout my feed over a few weeks. It’s very lighting dependent – sometimes it’s too bright or too dark and I just have to abandon the thought of taking any photos at all. 

Any specific posting schedule? 

I post once a day, usually in the afternoon/early evening time as that’s when most of my followers are active according to my Insights. Back when I first started out, I was posting multiple times a day to see what content people liked to see from me, but once I had that figured out, I didn’t need to post as much anymore! 


What does your Bookstagram mean to you?

It means more than people could know! It got me back into reading again, which I’m so grateful for, and it’s a platform that allows me to connect with so many other book lovers who I’d never get to talk to otherwise. Having it as a project to work on outside of university/my job has also made it a great space for me to have fun and de-stress. 


image via @stackedshelves

What publisher would you love to supply you with a lifetime of books?

I would have to say Penguin because Penguin Classics do so many beautiful editions of so many amazing books. I’d love to own all of them if I could!

An author you’d love to take a selfie with?

Taylor Jenkins-Reid! I think she’s so cool and has the most original ideas for books at the moment. 

Favorite book cover?

The Canterbury Classics Word Cloud edition of Jane Eyre (lilac is my favorite color and I love the typography!)

image via @stackedshelves

Aesthetic of your page?

My aesthetic is based on the pairing of books with my outfits, so those are the two fundamental elements underlying my posts. On top of that, my edits are focused around injecting warm tones into my photos to inspire that cozy feeling when you visit my feed. 

Favorite Insta-Post of your own?

My sister helped me take a photo where I’m lying on my bed in a gold dress with books scattered around me – I really love that one. It was hard to set up and get the angles right, but all good fun, and I love the way the edit came out. 

image via @stackedshelves

When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

Probably around when I started to gain a lot more followers after changing up my photos to include my outfits in the shot. I don’t think you necessarily need to have a lot of followers to make it as a Bookstagrammer, but because I started seeing this growth after changing my aesthetic, I knew I had hit upon my ‘niche’. 

Involvement in any fandoms?

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly into fandoms anymore, but when I was younger I was such a Twihard. I had a framed photo of Edward and Bella next to my bed, I had special hand-painted Twilight converse, I lived in Team Edward T-shirts…it was very intense when I look back on it now. But I think it’s cool for people to be super into things! And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still love Twilight. 


Additional bookishness for our audience?

Keep reading! And never let anyone make you feel bad for loving books – when I was younger I was always made to feel weird for being a reader, but there are so many people out there who share the same interests as you! It just takes time to find them.

Advice for aspiring ‘grammers?

Post regularly and interact as much as possible with other accounts – it’s definitely the way to embed yourself in the community! 

image via @stackedshelves

Fun fact?

I used to be a shelf stacker in a library and that’s where my Bookstagram username came from! 

Well, what did you think about @stackedshelves? I would totally steal her wardrobe if I could! Do you have a favorite Bookstagrammer in mind? Contact us through any of our social media platforms and you just might see them here next week! 

featured image via @stackedshelves

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Meet Our Bookstagrammer of the Week: @bookish.bones

What is the story of your Bookstagram?

Around the time I started college, I saw that Instagram had featured a “Bookstagram” account. I clicked on it and was so fascinated to find photos of books and a bookshelf covered in string lights like the treasure trove it really was. I was even more amazed by the fact that she [the user] was able to share these types of photos and become so popular. I had posted a few book photos on my own personal account, but most of the people I knew in real life didn’t share my love of reading. I was actually nervous I would annoy them with all my book photos. 

IMAge via @bookish.bones

I finally went about creating my own Bookstagram account where I wasn’t worried about annoying anyone or being judged for taking photos of books. In fact, I kept my account completely anonymous for the first few months since I didn’t want any reason to think I couldn’t just be my nerdy self. Hence why my name is still Kris on my page, even though everyone in real life calls me by my full name, Kristen. 

Low and behold, a handful of years later and I barely get on my normal account anymore. I never knew how to get my introverted self connected to other bookworms before, or even how many there actually are out there, but now that I’ve found a way that mixes my love for stories with photography, I’ve never gone back. 


Fun fact your followers may not know?

Despite loving to read in general, I typically did not enjoy the material I was required to read for school! I always grew frustrated trying to decipher it and yearned to read more modern stories that were not only more to the point and faster-paced, but also fueled that imaginative, curious spark inside me. To this day, I still haven’t picked up a classic of my own volition, but I’m hoping to try Pride and Prejudice one day, or perhaps Wuthering Heights.

image via @bookish.bones

Favorite Bookstagrammers?

This is a dangerous question. I could probably fill pages with usernames of accounts I adore, but here are a few I’m limiting myself to for now:

Amber from @YearOfAMillionReads has been a huge inspiration, a great friend, and a fellow cat mom. I often find myself picking up books she’s just finished like I’m a mouse behind her trail of crumbs. I honestly don’t understand how her account isn’t of massive proportions yet.

Another is @Br.enda, a Bookstagram queen and one of the friendliest ones at that! Despite the size of her account, she regularly engages with so many fellow Bookstagrammers of different audiences. She was another huge inspiration to me, and you can always count on her for an honest review and for her bubbly, uplifting personality. 

A few more to check out are Seline from @lifebytheink, Wulan from @twinklingchapters, Joee from @booksandacupofjoee, and gosh I need to make myself stop here! 


Favorite Books and Authors?

I am trash for Sarah J. Maas’s books. Harry Potter, Goosebumps, and Sarah Dessen’s contemporaries are also big factors in why I grew up to love reading. A few more notable favorites this year have been Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson, There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool, The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, and I’m just getting into R.S. Grey’s romantic comedies and falling in love with her characters too!


TBR List?

I’m very much a mood reader nowadays, but I’ve just started the Stalking Jack the Ripper series! I would also like to dig into the Renegades and The Cruel Prince trilogies before the year ends.

image via @bookish.bones

Do you have a special approach to sharing content?

There’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into my account, but I do tend to use the same setups when taking batches of photos and then alternate between those styles.


Posting schedule?

I tend to post daily, though I’m also a writer and with Nano coming up I’m slowing down to about every other day instead. 



What does your Bookstagram mean to you?

It feels silly, but it’s really such a huge outlet for me. It’s not just a place to post book photos and try to get likes. It’s where my bookish friends are. It’s the most welcoming, laid back community, and it’s where I think I’m most understood- besides with my husband (he’s amazing). 


What publisher would you choose to supply you with a lifetime of books?

Perhaps @Fiercereads!

image via @bookish.bones

Which author would you love to take a selfie with?

Sarah J. Maas, though I would probably act like a fish out of water and forget how to speak. Or breathe.


Favorite book cover?

I’m a notorious cover buyer, but maybe Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett.

image via @bookish.bones

What is the aesthetic of your Instagram?

Bright and white with pops of bokeh, color and cat bombs… hard to nail down!


When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

I think even accounts bigger than mine don’t ever truly feel like they’ve “made it,” but I will say I was beyond elated when I first passed 100 followers, and then much later 1,000. I think the experience for me really began to blossom and bloom when I started making friends and being more consistent with posting. I’ve also seen a lot more growth ever since I got an actual camera this past Christmas, but that is not to say you need a fancy, expensive camera to have a successful Bookstagram!


Advice for people interested in becoming Bookstragrammers?

Yes! I actually have a story on my page called Bookstagram Beginners that is the guide I would have wrote for myself starting out. I have one more segment to add there soon, but it’s nearly complete. Besides that: Use natural light, give yourself plenty of time to experiment while starting out, and make new friends!

image via @bookish.bones

Additional Bookishness?

If you have a cat, the string lights around your bookshelves miiight not work out…


What did you think of Kris? Has she inspired you to create your own visual diary of books?! Given the state of our world at the moment, this certainly makes for the perfect quarantine activity. Once again, thanks for tuning into our “Bookstagrammer of the Week.” We’ll catch you next time!

featured image via @bookish.bones

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Meet Our Bookstagrammer of the Week: @britishbookreader

What is the story of your Bookstagram?

I created my Instagram in 2011, though at the time it was just my personal account. I didn’t really set out to create a Bookstagram, I just shared my life which happened to be very bookish! Over time, readers began to notice me and for a while, I did lean more into the community. However, this year I went back to it being my personal account that also happens to be a Bookstagram, if that makes sense! In other words, my account is my life, told through book photos.

What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world?

I want it to be a cozy, bookish corner of the internet that gives people a safe and welcoming space to be inspired and share their love of books.

image via @britishbookreader

Fun fact that your followers may not know?

One fun fact about me is…I love facts! I’m a big “did you know” person and I have a book of 2,000 facts beside my bed that I read every night. 

Favorite Bookstagrammers?

I love so many: @blogaboutalatte, @themusicofalice, @reader_vvn,  @spicypages, and @thelibraryofpeculiar all come to mind. I’ve known some of them for years and they’re the sweetest, most genuinely kind people ever! Plus, their accounts are gorgeous and I love watching their stories.



Favorite Books and Authors?

I don’t have a single favorite author or book, but I love ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt, ‘The Truth About Keeping Secrets’ by Savannah Brown, and ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins.

TBR List?

Oh my gosh, so many! ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt, ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ by Holly Jackson, ‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood, and ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman. I’m also on a real self-help kick right now, so lots of those books too!

Do you have any special approach to sharing content?

I try to be as authentic and honest as possible. My followers know me very well and I think that’s because they’re genuinely a part of my life. I don’t think I do anything special other than share myself in a very organic way.

image via @britishbookreader

How about a posting schedule?

My schedule is fairly loose. I tend to post on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, but only if I’m in the mood. I went through a slump a while ago where social media felt very toxic and the whole process became so mechanical. It had become a numbers game for me and I felt forced to post photos out of fear of falling behind. An uncomfortable weight hovered over me on evenings I knew I had to post, so I ended up taking a break to reset my mind and when I came back, I only cared about creating a happy online space for myself and my followers, regardless of how many there were.

I do keep it professional, of course, since it is still a part-time job for me, but authenticity and mental health come first. I won’t post anything unless I want to.

What does your Bookstagram mean to you?

It’s my creative space, first and foremost. I love having a platform to share my passions and life, like a virtual diary. But it’s also the root from which everything else derives. My art business, my collaborations, my future career as an author, events I attend, etc. – they all stem from my Bookstagram platform, so it’s extremely important to me both personally and professionally.

Which publisher would you choose to supply you with a lifetime of books?

Oh, that’s hard! Maybe Harper Collins. Their YA section is brilliant.



Author to take a selfie with?

I’ve met a lot of authors but the only one I’ve asked for a selfie with is Alice Oseman, so I suppose my answer should be her!

Favorite Book Cover?

I love the meaningful, plain white cover of ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’.

image via @britishbookreader

Aesthetic / Instagram page theme?

Definitely cozy and warm (and bookish, of course). I built my aesthetic around my life, so my feed is gold, brown, and beige because my house and city are those colors. As I said, this is my personal account first and foremost.

When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

I didn’t until just now! [Laughs]

I suppose when I hit 10,000 followers, and people started asking to meet me in person, which was surreal. Then when I did start meeting followers in real life, they were so lovely and complimentary, it made me realize the effect my little Bookstagram was having on real people. Also, getting free books and earning money from my account were good signs too! I’ve recently been getting some very exciting collaboration offers that remind me that the outside world knows I exist!


Harry Potter and Gilmore Girls (Team Jess!) 



Advice for people interested in becoming Bookstagrammers?

Do it! It’s so much fun and the community is so welcoming.

Just remember to create a corner of the internet you’re happy to spend time in, and don’t worry about the numbers. This is your space to share whatever you want. You get to design and create your world, so enjoy it! If people come, that’s just a bonus. Also, make sure to let me know when you join so I can peep your account!

image via @britishbookreader

Any additional bookishness to share with our audience?

If you like bookish gifts, art, reading trackers, prints, or bookmarks feel free to check out my Etsy shop ‘britishbookart’. I do a lot of book-related products but the main things are painted characters on their book pages. The Harry Potter-themed ones are the most popular(my art account is @britishbookart on Instagram).

image via @britishbookart

What did you think of @britishbookreader?

featured image via @britishbookreader

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