Think pink

Looking through rose-tinted glasses can fill life with colour

I used to roll my eyes whenever I witnessed what I considered to be over-positivity. I’m not alone, many think there’s something weird about people who are just a bit too happy – imagining them as fake, deluded, or even slightly unhinged. And even when someone temporarily wears rose-tinted glasses, I’ve been tempted to snatch them away, dismissing idealised takes on life as pointlessly pink.

I’ve heard people wax nostalgic about a past era when – supposedly – everyone was kinder and music was better, thinking I knew better because, unlike them, I refused to romanticise the past. I’ve witnessed others enthuse about a particular country or culture as if it’s not equally as nuanced as one’s own. I’ve listened to people ignore the bad of the world, focusing exclusively on the good, and thought myself superior for being able to see reality as it really was.

Yet I’m learning that I just might be the deluded one, because life is so much more than the cold, harsh ordeal that so-called realists claim it to be. The reason people are wary of overt enthusiasm is because the ancient, mammalian part of our brain wants to keep us safe by remaining alert for bad stuff. That’s why, when faced with someone’s unbridled positivity, it can send the message: “Resist! If you forget to pay attention to trouble, something catastrophic will happen.” That’s just as unrealistic – and taking a negative point of view means those lenses become charged with grey.

I’ve discovered, to my cost, the effect of rainclouds on my psychological wellbeing – it’s why I’m now choosing to stand in the sun, wearing my rose-tinted spectacles. I’m learning that doing so raises my level of joy – as long as I’m aware that’s what I’m doing. Why not wax nostalgic about the past, knowing full well it was more complex than that? Why not wildly exclaim, take a constant positive outlook, risk being seen as insanely happy? If we garner suspicion from others – well, so what? Let’s colour each day with pink – perhaps right now, it’s exactly what we need.


  • Try a thought experiment – look at a minor situation from a positive angle, however weird or uncomfortable that feels.
  • For one day, imagine you’re the most positive person in the world. Focus exclusively on all the upbeat stuff (and if you forget to do so, that’s fine, too).
  • Give yourself a cheerful culture holiday for a month, by immersing yourself in feel-good films, books, and art. Leave that harrowing war epic for another time.
  • And throughout, attempt a rosy makeover – shower yourself in self-love, because you’re wonderful exactly the way you are. Self-improvement can wait, for now.
Words by Stephanie Lam

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