Is Positive Psychology Helping or Hurting Us?

  • Be Kind.

  • Stay Positive!

  • Positivity is a Choice.

  • Being Happy Never Goes Out of Style.

  • Smile. Make the World Better.

  • Optimism is Better Than Negativity.

  • Show Compassion to Others.

  • One Positive Thought Can Change Your Whole Day!

  • Being Positive Brings Good Things to Your Life.

In the last couple of weeks, I have seen these and other memes posted across various social media platforms, encouraging people to be more positive... to have a positive impact on others.

These memes, on the surface, seem wonderful, positive, inspiring, and encouraging -- at least for healthy people.

I worry about the people struggling with health issues. I worry they see these "be happy" messages and get triggered deeper... because they are dealing with past trauma that is preventing them from being happy, positive, optimistic.

These "chicken soup for the soul" memes have their origin from the field of positive psychology.

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology focuses on people's strengths, not weaknesses... and attempts to build on those "mental assets" to help people live a meaningful life, and to move beyond simply surviving.

Positive psychology focuses on happiness, meaning, mission, and well-being... building "the good life."

Gratitude and a positive attitude are also essential parts of positive psychology. So are performing random acts of kindness and volunteering (helping others).

On the surface, all great. I think the problem is when we turn these ideas into memes, which come across as orders to the people viewing them. How can I possibly "be kind," when I feel guilt, shame, anger?

Perhaps we can stop being so pithy with our memes, focus on developing positive messages for everyone... memes that encourage without triggering.

See the next section for suggestions.

Some Suggested Stronger/Healthier Psychology Memes
  • "I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself."

  • "Attract what you want by being what you want."

  • "I am doing my best."

  • "Don't let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace."

  • "You are enough. I am enough."

  • "We are stronger when we're on a healing journey."

  • "Hope is the only thing stronger than fear."

  • "I may not be perfect, but parts of me are pretty awesome."

  • "I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become."

  • "Life is tough, but so are you."

  • "A healing journey starts with just a single step."

  • "Your trauma does not need to define you."

Final Thoughts About Positive Motivation

I want the world to be a positive place. I love living within a community that supports and nurtures one another. I just am afraid that sometimes our positivity can be misplaced and actually trigger someone into feeling worse.

Additional Positive Psychology Memes Reading Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.