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The Illusion of Positivity: 4 Popular Positive Beliefs That Hold You Back from Your Best Life

Life is like stress eating a box of chocolates…Having too much of a good thing eventually leads to a tummy ache.

In life, we’re often told to shut up and think positive. And for the most part, this advice is sound.

But like someone burying their head in their pillow after a night of drinking, having too much of a good thing is inherently a bad thing.

So here are 4 common toxic, positive beliefs you need to lose to help you live a better life.

“Life should be easy.”

Now doesn’t that sound nice? You’d love for life to be as easy as a Sunday morning, but heed this warning: As you stroll along I’ve-got-it-made-avenue, sooner or later, you’re going to step into some sh*t. The brutal reality is that life isn’t easy. Life is like an outdoor job on a sunny, 90-degree day, and you forgot to put on sunscreen.

Believing that life should be easy is like expecting a shark to play nice with a goldfish — it’s just not gonna happen. And this misconception, my friends, holds you back. Because if you think life should be easy, every time something get hard, you’ll think the problem is unique to you and not how life really is.

By embracing the notion that life can be tough, you’ll find that you become resilient and able to take life’s twists and turns with stride. After all, hard things become less scary when you expect them tobehard. The battle begins in the mind and not the field.

“Always think positive.”

Ahh the bumper sticker advice that makes you want to drive straight into someone’s bumper. Being constantly positive is a nice idea in theory, but in reality, it’s like walking through a minefield blindfolded and hoping that everything that crunches is only a leaf. The reality is that sooner or later, something in your life is going to go boom.

Now, I know the thought of thinking negatively might sound as appealing as wearing Crocs to a Paris high-fashion show, but there’s power in pessimism. It’s part of the human experience, right? We’re not robotic happiness machines, we’re like an iPod on shuffle — we play different songs internally. Sometimes, a healthy dose of cynicism can help you anticipate a few faceplants and save you from pain.

So, by all means, be positive, but don’t be afraid to see things for how they really are; it’s normal and it may protect you.

“You can achieve anything if you just believe.”

Cue the collective eye-roll. Belief and faith are extraordinary, no question there. They can move mountains and open cans without a can opener. But there’s a trend of mistaking belief for an all-access pass to achievement while conveniently ignoring the blood, sweat, and silent frustration that lives under the iceberg of success.

Scroll through Instagram, and you’ll see more than enough shiny quotes on self-belief to make you swear off glitter. But the reality is most results in life usually require work… and a lot of it.Belief is the engine, sure, but hard work is the fuel. Make sure your work ethic is just as high as your belief and soon you’ll have new stories to write a glittery post about. 😉 

“Happiness is a choice.”

This nugget of wisdom is about as helpful as a chocolate teapot in the desert. Yes, you can choose your actions, your reactions, and even items on your dinner menu, but your feelings? They’re like that one drunk friend who insists on singing karaoke — they’re unpredictable and often out of tune. Insisting on choosing happiness all the time can feel like trying to hold back the ocean tide with a plastic bucket. No matter the effort, it’s just not gonna happen.

The reality is It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. The reality is sometimes you want to play your favorite sad song and let out a good cry. We’re humans, not social media profiles after all.So, why you should always strive for happiness all the time? It’s not natural. Remember, it’s equally important to respect your authentic emotions. The aim is to live, not to pretend.

So, there you have it. Drop these “feel good” slogans, replace them with a healthy dose of reality and get ready to experience life in all its raw, unedited glory.

51 thoughts on “The Illusion of Positivity: 4 Popular Positive Beliefs That Hold You Back from Your Best Life

  1. Expecting life to be easy isn’t something I do, but I think I believe on some level that it is easy for other people, and if it’s not for me, it’s because I’m doing something wrong. That paragraph really helps – the more I can absorb the idea that everyone has bad things happen to them the more I can detach from that exhausting self-analysis and instead work on my resilience, and enjoy the good moments as they come. Thanks 🙂

  2. There is some real truth in these. Sometimes we can control our responses to things. I hve friend who would elect to be amused at something that would have made me angry. I valued her ability to do that and have even tried to emulate irregularly.

    1. Umm – shoot – I need to figure that out. I always assumed everyone could. I’m happy with anyone reading it, I love when you and everyone comments and if you feel like sharing it with a friend, it would mean the world

  3. I hate all those cheesy self help motivational posters. My husband says I’m a pessimist but I think of myself as a realist and am rarely disappointed.

  4. Your point 3 got me. “You can achieve anything if you just believe”. Yes, it’s good to have some self belief, but it might not always be possible to reach the top … push to be the best you can, but we need to be realistic

      1. For me too! I remember that scene from Something’s Gotta Give when Diane Keaton cries at her type writer, in the shower, putting on Jack Nicholson’s glasses. LOL. Crying is just the body’s way of saying it’s EXHAUSTED. So, get it out, start FRESH!

  5. Delightful and fabulous blog post Anthony. I have to give you a round of applause👏👏👏 because you have written reality stuff here and the kinds of things that occur in real life.

    Also, these 4 positive beliefs do make our lives interesting especially the one about happiness is a choice and I love the elaboration there pointing out that you can’t be happy all the time, sometimes you cry and it is normal since we are humans, just yesterday, I watched a show that showcased a death funeral, seeing it on TV was like me witnessing it in front of my eyes, that is because I lost my mother and I just could not help but weep😭😢 , after that I felt better.

    Moreover, I can safely say that life is hard and I love the example there of a shark and a goldfish and it is hard to expect the shark to be all friendly with the fish because that is its dinner , meal and lunch😁, that’s funny by the way😂.

    All in all, these are great tips for living a positive life in the midst of life’s bad twists and hurdles💯

  6. Really insightful article 👏

    We all need a healthy dose of realism. And pessimism has its benefits, too. Expecting the best to happen always is quite unrealistic. I’ve written about ways to optimize pessimism on my blog, as well as the benefits of sadness.

    Life is not a bed of roses. The earlier we understand this and manage our expectations, the better.

  7. Always think positive is absolutely wrong. I am so glad I found someone who agrees. I Do not think it is wrong to have a positive mindset, but we should always have that expectation in the back of our minds that things can turn sour. My wife had this problem, and I gave her the following example: Imagine you get invited to a party without any knowledge that one of your worst enemies will be attending. The surprise will get you heated up and extremely uncomfortable. Whereas if someone brought it to your attention, you have a chance to mentally prepare yourself, and thus their presence wont affect as you as bad. Thats just how I view it. Thanks for this great post.

    Spiritual and motivational blogger

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