Does Being Positive Mean You Need to Be Happy?


In today’s culture, we can feel major peer pressure to appear exceedingly positive. We all want to experience those endorphins, be that perfectly “happy” person on Instagram, and surround ourselves with others who are motivated to do the same. The key is to find the authenticity and purpose to putting out those positive vibes. Don’t feel distraught if you have a day when you feel less than adequate—you’re not alone. Find a better mindset by knowing how to tackle these common pitfalls:

1. Expecting to never have a challenging day that gets the best of you

“Why can’t I be happy all the time? I have coworkers who pull it off successfully.” The truth is, no one is positive all the time. A placebo-controlled study demonstrates people are happier after three months of completing exercises targeting positive emotion. The goal is to be mindful, teachable, aware, and willing to learn the lessons each day brings. The true masters of happiness seek to find the balance in everything, even in whatever appears to be kicking up dust in our lives. The positive way to evaluate those not-so-positive days is to realize it is just that: one day. Learning to erase the chalkboard and starting fresh with each new morning will give you the ability to encounter contentment and happiness more often.

2. Holding the misconception that positivity equates continual happiness

As discussed, we are going to encounter the ebb and flow. The key isn’t whether you see the glass as half empty or half full. It’s knowing it’s refillable. Your life isn’t a measuring cup, it’s an ever-evolving entity. When we expect to be in a certain frame of mind or mood, those expectations can paralyze us. When we become flexible we learn to be gentle with ourselves when needed. This develops passages to learn new things about ourselves.

3. Feeling stressed-out by the pressure of being positive

The key is to begin with small affirmative goals and allow yourself to build the muscles of positivity in stages. You don’t get those killer glutes without the work, and fortifying your mind is no different. You have a lifelong task of reprogramming to work on. Be patient with yourself throughout the process of retraining your brain, automatic thoughts, and reactions.

4. Comparing yourself to others

This is one of the quickest ways to feel your confidence and mood shrink. Comparing yourself to others is an illusion because you don’t know, in most cases, their real-life situation or what they’re experiencing in their own world. Have you heard the adage, “If the grass is greener on the other side, maybe it’s because it’s fake turf”? If your life appears to be falling short on the positivity projection field, maybe it’s time to realign your motivation and reflect on what your truest hopes are. Take your attention away from others and focus on one area where you can create change and produce progress: yourself.

5. Feeling like your positivity isn’t genuine

Does your pursuit and portrayal of happiness leave you feeling like a fraud? Take off the mask of expectation of what you wish to be or feel you should be. If it’s not authentic, it’s robbing you of energy. Fine-tune your roadmap for reaching your goals by getting rid of thoughts that don’t feel true to you.

Taking the time to reflect on the motivation for your positivity pursuit will get you back on the path. Being aware of the potential pitfalls enables you to correct your direction before you fall, allowing those strides to grow longer, stronger, and more sure-footed with every step.