myths positive people

5 myths about positive people

There are many myths about positive people-optimists-and how their mindset is developed and influences their lives. Positive thinking can be easily dismissed as a ‘fad’ or a ‘new age’ idea of pretty Instagram quotes. But actually, changing one’s mindset from negative to positive is a concept that has been around for centuries and has been at the core of most of philosophy and psychology’s approach to life satisfaction and wellbeing.

Believing these myths is so unhelpful, because it perpetuates a sense of helplessness within people. It is therefore easy to dismiss positive thinking and create barriers between your current mindset and any future goals.

Here are 5 common myths about people with positive thinking styles:

positive people

Positive people must have blessed lives

I hear this one a lot, the assumption that if someone has a positive mindset, then they mustn’t have gone through struggle in their life. Actually, some of the most optimistic clients I know have been through great adversity! While life experiences can certainly be a factor in one’s mindset, we all have a choice in how we approach our thinking. Your interpretation of an event is the key. Positive thinkers have similar experiences to negative thinkers, but they interpret events in a balanced, healthy, often hopeful way.

Positive people were born an optimist
(so I can’t become one)

Optimism (like any other personality trait) is on a spectrum. It is not all-or-nothing, but more a fluid trait that can go up and down depending on a range of circumstances (background, genetics, life experiences, personality, skills, practice etc). This is great news, because it means that positive thinking is always something that can be improved upon. In fact, most research supports the idea that optimism is a trained that can be learned.

Positive people don’t get down

Nope! Just because someone has an optimistic mindset, doesn’t mean they don’t have their own insecurities and down days. We are ALL human after all, and we all experience the great spectrum of emotions. But the difference is that optimists persevere with their positive thinking, regardless of insecurities. They acknowledge their weaknesses and difficult emotions, but find a way to take a breath, pick themselves back up, challenge critical self talk, and continue.

Positive people have unrealistic expectations

There is a school of thought that you should ‘lower your expectations, so you won’t be disappointed’. But you know what? Those that do this are still often disappointed, because it is a normal emotion to experience after things don’t go to plan. All that you are doing is trying to prevent an emotion by dampening another one: hope. And hope is an incredibly powerful and useful emotion that makes us motivated for change. I would hedge a bet that some of the most successful people had an optimistic mindset, and this was an important factor in getting back up after failure.

Positive people are annoying

Well sure, sometimes those ‘super-motivated-self-help-guru’ types can be over the top in their approach to a positive mindset.  But the reality is that being an optimist isn’t about being a total Pollyanna. Learning to become an optimist doesn’t mean going around telling everyone to ‘just be happy!’ as we all know it is way more complex than that. Again, optimists still have negative thoughts, insecurities and uncomfortable emotions. They simply make efforts not to get too tangled up in these, and find a more balanced way of thinking about things. Also, I wonder how annoying it can be to be around someone who is negative and critical about everything all the time?

So if you have been dismissing positive thinking as a new-age, annoying, unrealistic way of thinking, perhaps reconsider. Because your the way that we think directly impacts on our feelings, which impacts on how we act, which effects our life experiences and outcomes.

 

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Comments

  1. I love it! I’m definitely a glass half full type of gal and I can relate to all these points! Sometimes, I surprise myself when I get down in the dumps, but as you rightly point out and as I have to remind myself, we are only human after all. It’s not possible to be all sunshine and donuts all of the time, but having that positive mindset most of the time makes such a huge difference, not just on ourselves but on the people around us.

    1. Jess

      It is definitely not all sunshine and donuts (but how amazing does that sound?!) and acknowledging negative time or low feelings is very important.

  2. I think I’m more a realist than an optimist or pessimist. Having said that, there is a lot to be said for choosing how you respond to circumstances or seasons in your life. When I choose Truth over emotion I am able to respond more positively, or at least I am able to grit my teeth and endure through difficulty until I get to the other side. And then I get to look back and see how my character and faith have deepened and been honed for the better. I love getting to the looking back stage!

    1. Jess

      Choosing how you respond is so key. And yes, looking back and being proud of how you responded is wonderful motivation for me.

  3. Great post. One of my besties is an optimist of the always-has-been variety. She annoys some of my other friends, but to me, she’s an inspiration. She’s made me take steps toward becoming an optimist of the chooses-to-be variety. #teamIBOT

    1. Jess

      I find that in friendships having a good balance of mindsets can be helpful.

  4. I loved this. It is very true. I possibly don’t put enough value on hope. I tend to be more guarded. A great reminder that I am sometimes missing out on the fun part of hope. #mummymondays

    1. Jess

      Yes I think hope can be one of the most powerful emotions and motivators.

  5. Jacq

    I used to be really pessimistic and I found it just wasn’t for me. I got sick and I had loads of anger towards others. I chose to be optimistic just because I felt better by choosing to think more positively and by learning to forgive and surrender things. xx

    Jacq
    jacqwritesworld.com

  6. I am total agreeance here. I have always been an optimist. Pesimists really bring me down. I don’t think there is anything wrong with expectation and hope. If I don’t have that, what do I have?

    1. Jess

      Yes totally! And I think you can be a critically thinking person while still having hope and generally positive mindset.

  7. Flipping your thoughts does take effort in the beginning but I found just getting started makes the job so much easier. Positivity is so much nicer when you get there.

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