When I was in grad school, I worked at a gym. One of the things I recall vividly about my time there were the encouraging vibes from personal trainers, group fitness instructors, and the members themselves. People clung to mantras such as “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow” and “The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do”, and “Be stronger than your excuse.” Phrases such as these were meant to inspire persistence with your workouts. And many times, they did.
As well-intended as these messages were, though, they were sometimes problematic. Sometimes the pain I felt was a sign I should stop the workout -- not push through. Sometimes the excuses were legitimate and necessary reasons for skipping a spin class here and there. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later did I become acquainted with the concept of toxic positivity which allowed me to name what I was feeling in response to these inspirational no-quit quotes.