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Embracing Authenticity: You Don't Have to Fake Positivity to Train Your Brain

Many self-help gurus often preach the importance of positivity, leading us to believe that we must always “think positive” to train our brains for success. Contrary as ever, I don’t think you have to fake positivity to experience personal growth; in fact, I would actively advise against it.

Embracing authenticity, acknowledging our emotions, and our feelings can have a profound impact on our mental well-being and overall success.  Authentic emotions are crucial for personal growth and we can retrain our brains without sacrificing the truth. Which is not what the self-help corner of Instagram would have you believe.

The Myth of Forced Positivity

The idea of forced positivity has become a popular notion in personal development circles. Champions of the theory argue that maintaining a positive outlook at all times can lead to increased happiness and success. However, studies have shown that forced positivity can be counterproductive, leading to increased stress and a suppression of genuine emotions. Which is probably not that healthy.

Allowing ourselves to feel and express our genuine emotions – has been shown to promote greater emotional intelligence, resilience, and personal growth. By acknowledging our emotions and practising self-awareness, we can better understand ourselves and navigate life's challenges.

Cool, but how?

The Neuroscience of Authentic Emotions

Our brains are wired to experience a wide range of emotions, from joy and excitement to sadness and anger. These emotions serve essential functions, such as alerting us to potential threats, motivating us to take action, and fostering social connections. Just this first step of identifying and naming what is going on, for it can create an important pause in the respond and react trap.

When we suppress or deny our emotions, we hinder our brain's natural processes and limit our ability to process; and therefore to grow and adapt. Research has shown that the suppression of emotions can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even physical health issues. Which is not quite the live, laugh, love image people would like us to believe.

Creating a greater understanding of our emotional landscape, improved self-awareness, and the ability to make more informed decisions. You get to make choices based on what is going on for you, not some ultra filtered version of what you think you should be feeling.

Strategies for Embracing Authenticity and Retraining Your Brain

  1. Practice self-awareness: To embrace authenticity, it's essential to be aware of our emotions and understand how they affect us. Regularly check in with yourself and take note of your emotional state. Journaling, meditation, or simply taking a few moments to reflect can help increase self-awareness.

  2. Accept your emotions: Instead of trying to suppress or change your emotions, allow yourself to feel them without judgment. Recognise that it's okay to experience a full range of emotions and that doing so is a natural part of being human.  Easier said than done I know, but I have a whole course on how to do this in practice

  3. Learn from your emotions: Our emotions can serve as valuable teachers, offering insights into our needs, values, and beliefs. Reflect on what your emotions may be trying to tell you, and consider how you can use this information to grow and learn.

  4. Practice self-compassion: Be kind and understanding toward yourself when you experience challenging emotions. Treat yourself with the same empathy and support that you would offer a friend in a similar situation.

  5. Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or professionals who can offer guidance and encouragement as you navigate your emotional journey. Obviously, I am going to tell you that engaging in online courses, workshops, or coaching sessions can also provide valuable tools and insights for personal growth.  And also, maybe reaching out to a mate to share what is going on for you can be an important first step.


Whether you decide to handle your emotions or not, they are going to just keep popping up, so, in my humble opinion, you may as well learn some techniques to begin to work out how to greet them rather than trying to pretend they have not invited themselves around for dinner constantly.  Because it can get crowded in there.  Finding ways to introduce yourself to your own emotions then gives you the chance to get to know them rather than get familiar with avoiding them, and this allows you to make an informed decision about which ones you want to indulge in and which ones have got to go.


If you’d like some more help with the how, this is what we do on the weekly coaching calls over at

A curvy cucasian woman with blonde hair in an explosion of yellow paint


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