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 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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