We are drowning in toxic positivity.
Don’t worry, be happy!
Smile! There are people out there that have it way worse than you
Happy wife, happy life
And it is exhausting.
There’s so much pressure to flit through life with a nothing-but-positive attitude.
Remember everyone: being a downer sucks. Instead, put a big smile on that face and keep it there.
But this mentality of forcing happiness is incredibly counter-effective.
Think about it: when you try to be cool, chances are you’re not coming off quite as cool as you want to be.
Trying to be happy won’t get you there either, and lying to yourself about how happy you really are prevents any growth or development.
Rather, happiness grows naturally as a by-product from living a certain lifestyle that suits you best and learning more about yourself.
1) Happiness doesn’t mean forcing positivity
Whilst the focus on destigmatizing mental health is more prevalent in today’s world, many people still feel some shame in admitting when they’re suffering.
So they’ll put on a brave face and smile, when deep down, they’re in a big pit of despair and in desperate need of a hug.
Toxic positivity is also a term which is increasingly thrown around nowadays.
It refers to the belief that no matter the situation, you should always keep a positive and happy mindset.
As the name suggests, it’s pretty harmful as in keeping all your sadness, anger, and frustration bottled up, one day…
Burying feelings of grief or resentment or any other complex emotion isn’t the right way to process things.
Actually, at times, you’ll be pretty miserable.
But as the old Buddhist saying goes, ‘Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional’.
What’s important is that you learn to sit with these feelings.
Being able to regulate your emotions is when you feel overwhelmed by something is based on three steps:
- Taking a step back to first identify the emotion,
- Consider what has triggered this feeling
- Decide whether you wish to act on it or not
Using these steps, you can free yourself from the toxic expectations that you should always mask your grief with happiness or contain your frustration with a smile.
Let go of the expectation that you need to always be happy.
Realize instead that bad thoughts come and go but never need to define you.
Part of the human experience is embracing the variety and abundance of emotion.
Nostalgia, wistfulness, heartbreak, yearning, lust.
A lot of these don’t start nor end with being happy, and forcing yourself into the mindset where only happiness is allowed will prevent you from experiencing all that life has to offer.
2) Happiness isn’t trying to accept what’s not good enough
When our expectations aren’t met, some part of us caters to that by doing damage control.
Okay. I might not be happy with my current job. The hours suck and the work is boring. But maybe I can force myself to be content.
Or, I don’t really love my current partner or see a future with them. But I’m past the age where being single is socially acceptable and my parents want me to be married, so I sure can pretend to be happy.
I’m hopefully not the first to tell you that fairytale, riding-off-into-the-sunset romance doesn’t exist.
If you choose to engage in long-term partnership with someone, there will be many times when happiness is off the cards.
Same goes for your professional life.
Unless you’re living your ultimate dream and somehow managing to fund a luxury lifestyle through your niche hobby, it’s likely that working for a living isn’t the most joyful experience.
You’ll be met with a lot of discontentment throughout life, and many of your expectations will likely not be met.
But the sooner you adjust your outlook on reality, accept that life comes with a little darkness, and aim for what I like to call a more positive-realistic outlook, the better.
This means chasing your dreams where needs be.
It means going down the road of being single if that means being happy for you – not for someone else.
It also means taking life as it comes and not forcing this fake-fairytale image of what your life needs to be like upon yourself.
Because in doing that, you’re only setting yourself up for failure when reality comes knocking at the door.
3) Happiness comes from learning about who you really are
Since we’ve covered the bases of how happiness shouldn’t be forced nor should it be faked to better fit into what society expects of you…
I’m telling you all the things you shouldn’t be doing.
So what should you do instead?
Well, as cliché as it may sound, happiness comes from within.
Or rather, it comes from pursuing your own dreams (not those thrust upon you by family or culture or society).
It comes from loving the people who make you feel like the best version of yourself, OR choosing to live a life free from toxic relationships and letting them.
It comes from performing small acts of kindness that make your heart sing and lift up those around.
Happiness might well already be inside you, but you’re the one who is going to have to do some digging to find it.
That means sitting down and reflecting on your life goals and who you really envision yourself to be.
Think about it: how much satisfaction would you get out of launching the start-up of your dreams?
Or being able to navigate a room of people and network like the social butterfly you’ve always dreamed of being?
Or just leaving each and every interaction knowing the other person has walked away feeling a little warmer, a little happier in themselves thanks to you?
The art of being happy means coming to a great understanding of your own values and goals, and then doing the work to move towards them.
And happiness never has to mean the end goal; it’s also the journey.
With each tiny step in the direction, each successful milestone ticked off,
you get filled with satisfaction.
Having drive, purpose and knowledge about who you’re supposed to be and what you thrive from doing is what fulfils us.
And it’s those droplets of satisfaction which build up to create a life of contentment and inner harmony.
So quit trying so hard to be happy and start living.
You’ll be surprised with how much more genuinely happy you are.
Ready to start exploring new ideas and broadening your mind?
Maybe there are things holding you back in your journey to finding the things that genuinely make you happy that you haven’t yet considered.
When it comes to your personal spiritual journey, which toxic habits have you unknowingly picked up?
Is it the need to be positive all the time? Is it a sense of superiority over those who lack spiritual awareness?
Even well-meaning gurus and experts can get it wrong.
The result is that you end up achieving the opposite of what you’re searching for. You do more to harm yourself than to heal.
You may even hurt those around you.
In this eye-opening video, the shaman Rudá Iandé explains how so many of us fall into the toxic spirituality trap. He himself went through a similar experience at the start of his journey.
As he mentions in the video, spirituality should be about empowering yourself. Not suppressing emotions, not judging others, but forming a pure connection with who you are at your core.
If this is what you’d like to achieve, click here to watch the free video.
Even if you’re well into your spiritual journey, it’s never too late to unlearn the myths you’ve bought for truth!