How To Know If Your 'Stereotypical Barbie' Happy Positivity Is A Lie

Photo: Tema_kud, Porechenskaya | Canva
Woman on a pink street with shipping bags

In the blockbuster summer hit film, Barbie, the title character is played with visual perfection by Margot Robbie. But there are many Barbies in this film. Robbie's Barbie is known as a “Stereotypical Barbie”, one floating through life on tiptoe and stilettos, blonde and always happy. Always. 

In real life, this is exhausting for everyone. It's like watching any 1960s screen goddess on a perpetual film loop in which lipstick never smears and her pearly whites are shown as a carved-in-stone smile.

If you’ve ever had a friend who always seems happy, happy, happy, you know how exhausting that can be for you. Perhaps you’re wondering “Is her happiness real or fake?” Once you peer into her eyes, you’ll probably know she’s either faking it, or she’s one of a very tiny segment of society who has worked hard to reach happiness.

You may contemplate dropping her as a friend if you get the “no one’s home” feeling. Or you may wonder, “Should I pretend to be happy?” or “Am I bringing her down when I don’t feel cheerful?”.

Most humans long for authenticity and connection. Even Stereotypical Barbie finds herself needing and wanting more, dreaming of a different type of authenticity — one with the emotional risks and profound depths every woman is capable of experiencing. So it's important that you don't wade into the "fake happiness" pool and lose yourself — even if you do try to find a more positive outlook for yourself. 

RELATED: 7 Simple Rules For Authentic Happiness (Not The Fake Kind We All Pretend We Have)

Five reasons Barbie-happy positivity is wonderful, but only if it's authentic. 

Whether you see the world as sunny-side-up or doomy and gloomy all depends on your brain and not reality! For some people, there’s “situational depression” caused by real occurrences. For others, it’s “biochemical depression” when brain chemistry or brain wiring creates pervasive despair and hopelessness.

1. Most women want encouragement to be “real”.

When sexual liberation and bra-burning became a national movement in the late 1960’s, even the ultra-powerful socialites of NYC shifted to miniskirts and stored their white kid gloves. While they still used cans and cans of hairspray, they were less uptight and more relaxed because it feels better. Some even began to think that faking an orgasm wasn’t worth it so they joined the sexual revolution that was concurrent with the feminist revolution.

If a woman is pretending to be happy, perhaps as the result of childhood directives that forced her to retain a pretty façade at all times, then permission to “feel and be real” will eventually make her feel authentic, human, and known. However, for those with extreme biochemical depression, they may feel terrified of dropping their pretense of smiling from fear of seeing how far they will sink if they allow themselves to bottom out.

2. Empathizing with someone’s real feelings encourages them to “show up” in a more authentic way.

If you’ve ever visited a patient in the hospital who is faking cheerfulness so the visitors and nurses don’t pity them, here’s what can work. Giving someone permission to speak about the 3 human emotions of pain: fear, anger, and sadness, can be a gift for someone programmed for Barbie smiles.

You’ll have to pay really close attention to even guess about the challenge they are facing and if you do, here are 3 prompts to help you connect with them:

  • I imagine you’ve been feeling concerned about your career and you want to get that promotion, right?
  • It sounds as if you feel frustrated by your son’s grades because you know he is so smart, and you want him to get into a college; do I understand?
  • When your husband told you about his dream vacation, I’m guessing you felt disappointed because you were planning a trip to Tuscany instead of fly fishing; yes?

The first point to notice is you are only able to guess what someone else is feeling, you can’t know.

The second aspect is you begin empathizing with a negative “feeling word” which must always be coupled with a positive “need word” in order to encourage someone to open up.

Third, you are only guessing so end with a question instead of playing Psychic Hotline. If you use a compassionate tone of voice, they will usually begin to open up, although the time it takes you to make that connection depends on many factors that includes how robotic they were programmed to behave.

3. There are health risks to fake happiness.

You must distinguish between “Toxic Positivity” in which someone is ignoring and swallowing pain, and the natural joy of someone who has the right brain chemistry and/or inner tools. With a chronic false front of happiness, the body usually takes the hit, and disease symptoms appear over time.

In the 1970s, Louis Hay was one of the first to describe the connection between mental attitudes and symptoms. Famous for affirmations to increase well-being in the human body, mind, and spirit, she taught, “Every thought we think is creating our future.” which helped millions to become aware of the power of the language they speak, and the words they think. Unfortunately, this also can perpetuate the fake happy face among people pleasers.

RELATED: 5 Critical Steps To Take To Embrace Your Most Authentic Self

4. Becoming authentically happy requires two separate areas of success.

I work with a lot of clients with PTSD, and one of the hallmarks of this chronic condition is often the symptom of “forced cheerfulness”. It blocks them from identifying the ancient stories that hold their fight/flight/freeze/fawn in place, and therefore they can’t transform their pain and let go of the old stories that keep PTSD in place.

We need to shift any problems with brain chemistry that make our life resemble a dark gray prison cell. We also need to learn skills and transform our old stories of suffering.

We want to feel good, and since relationships and business opportunities are easier to find when you are happy because joy increases your charisma, but are there any downsides to this journey?

When I work with clients who suffer from depression, anxiety, and rage, I remind them there is another way to live once we do our inner work. They can consider improving our brain chemistry and brain function with natural products and learn to disconnect from old programming that is usually a large part of the problem. I also encourage clients to take an at-home saliva and urine test to identify PTSD which is rampant in those whose moodiness limits their lives.

Coincidentally, the learned behaviors of complaining and negative language are separate from brain chemistry and once their chemistry improves, they will still need to learn how to think and communicate in positive language and focus on what they desire instead of the old complaining vocabulary. When they have these skills plus balanced brain chemistry, they begin to become happy, magnetic, and authentic, too.

5. Learning to have an authentic positive outlook will change your life.

I have known a few people who lack the ability to worry. They see only the positive, the happy, and the healthy. It’s lucky for them because research into the quantum field confirms this is a more successful way to live because worrying about a future event seems to affect our future.

While it’s rarely instantaneous, famous leaders like Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela moved through trauma to the achieve outcome they desired, even while working through and waiting out the most shocking travails.

A client asked me, “Do you believe I should fake it ‘til I make it?”

Unlike Barbie who was incapable of self-examination, humans can see the result of their thoughts, words, and actions when you point it out for them.

My response is that while undergoing the process of self-awareness, one begins to see fake happiness is the flip side of negative thinking; being ever-glum and ever-gleeful are equally unsuccessful if your goal is a peaceful, healthy, and successful life.

The key to balancing your life between authentic optimism and faking a positive outlook is to educate yourself and develop more self-awareness. If you aren't doing this, it's likely your positivitiy is a lie. 

When you do your inner work and master communication skills, you can evolve into the most authentic Barbie of all; beautiful in your own way, joyous based on your own values, and someone who creates her best life every day.

This gives you a true power: The ability to use the highest level of skills to focus on what you want until you manifest it without pretending you've already arrived at your goal.

When you look at a person who has reached this pinnacle of human experience, you can look into a pair of eyes and see someone looking back at you, something a mask can never do.

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Susan Allan is a Life Coach whose Evolution Revolution® Trainings offer proven tools to experience joy, happiness and let go of suffering.