“Just be happy!”
“Just think good thoughts.”
“But you have so much to be happy about!”
“Other people have it worse.”
We say these things all the time when people tell us they’re feeling unhappy. But although we mean them to be encouraging, the truth is that it’s not always that easy. As much as everyone wants to be happy, there is really no such thing as a “happiness switch” in our brains. We can’t simply press a button and have the happiness we seek. As a result, telling people to “just be happy” or reminding them that “other people have it worse” is a form of toxic positivity that invalidates another person’s genuine emotional struggles. So, how can we transcend all this? What’s the secret to rising above toxicity and misconceptions and creating a truly happy future? Over the course of this summary, we’ll explore the author’s answers and practical tips for these questions!
Chapter 1: Harness The Law of Attraction to Manifest the Blessings
You Want to Receive
Have you ever felt like you spend your life wishing for loads of things you don’t have? Maybe you spend all your time wishing that you had more money, a better job, or the romantic partner of your dreams. Our aspirations may vary from person to person, but at the core, we all have one thing in common: we often long for things we don’t have. Having grown up in a very poor family, the author has firsthand experience with this longing. He knows what it’s like to0 wish for things you don’t have and to feel empty and dissatisfied because you don’t have them. But after years of wishing, he finally decided to take matters into his own hands and learn how to make hisown dreams come true. And that’s when he discovered the “law of attraction.”
After doing a great deal of research as a young man, the author learned that the law of attraction is considered to be one of the most powerful principles of the universe because it informs every facet of your existence. Positing that what you put out into the world is what you’ll receive in return, the law of attraction affirms that if your impact on the world is comprised of anger, negativity, and selfishness, life will reward you only with more things to be frustrated about. By contrast, if you actively seek to promote kindness, positivity, and gratitude, the universe will reward you with positive things. Put simply, you attract what you tend to think and feel.
And if we accept that principle, then it follows naturally that this principle is already affecting our lives at this very moment. But if we know that, then we can choose to do something with this information! We can make a conscious effort to be aware of what we put into our minds and how our thoughts are influencing our mental and emotional health. And the best part is that you don’t have to wait for anything in order to get started; you can take those positive, life-changing steps right now! So, how can you put the law of attraction into practice in your own life? The first step is to think critically about the energy you attract to yourself. To understand more about the law of attraction and how it works in practical application, let’s consider an example.
Pretend your mind is like a TV transmission tower, but instead of TV channels, you’re broadcasting your thoughts and desires into the universe. But just like a transmission tower, you’re not just sending something out, you’re receiving something as well. So, if you don’t like what the universe is sending you, maybe it’s time to change the message you’re putting out! The power to alter the message you’re sending — and what you receive in life — means that you are the creator of your own universe. You have the power to do something about any situation you’re unhappy with! So, let’s take a look at three key steps you can change to change your world.
The first step is to ask for what you want. Be clear about what you want and make your request by following this simple, specific structure. Start by using the present tense and making a statement of gratitude, speaking as though what you want is already yours. For example, you could say, “I am so grateful to have my new promotion.” This formula can, of course, be amended to suit any of your desires, whether you’re seeking an experience — like recovering from trauma or becoming healthy — or something involving a person, like finding a supportive partner or the desire for your mother to beat cancer. It can also be practiced as many times as you like; think of it like placing an order from the universe’s catalogue of positive things that can come to you.
And once you’ve made your request, the next step is to believe. Keep the thought of what you want — and your confidence in your ability to get it-- at the forefront of your mind and concentrate on radiating positivity and faith. You can think of this step as strengthening the signal you’re broadcasting into the universe. Then the final step is to receive! Once you’ve done everything you can to effectively broadcast your desires, your next job is to sit back and wait for them to come to you. You can help the process along by using a mantra that supports and solidifies your goal. For example, you could practice saying something like, “I am receiving now. I am receiving all the good in my life now. I am receiving (insert your desire here) now” a few times a day. Practicing this faith and positivity throughout your day will strengthen the good frequencies you’re putting into the universe and help you to achieve what you want.
This is possible because of the vibrations your energy puts out into the universe. In practice, this operates in a similar fashion to the laws that govern quantum physics. One of the central premises of quantum mechanics is that if you narrow down the complexities of the universe to its most minute and basic level, what you’re left with is energy. Because energy vibrates at certain frequencies, things that vibrate on the same frequency are drawn to each other; that’s how natural attraction works and it’s the principle that governs the law of attraction. Changing your thoughts addresses that principle because you’re altering the frequency and vibration of the energy you put outinto the universe. So, when you change the things you spend the most time thinking about, you’re altering your primary frequency and thus telling the universe what type of energy you want to attract.
Chapter 2: Invest in Your Future by Practicing Self-Compassion
We hear a lot about self-love, self-care, and being kind to ourselves, but what does that really look like in practice? These concepts have been normalized in mainstream media and on one hand, that’s awesome. This normalization means that we can initiate an open and honest discourse about the importance of self-care and mental health. But unfortunately, the popularization of “self-care culture” has a bit of a downside as well. That’s because this concept has become so normalized that we’ve lost sight of what it really means to practice self-care or self-love. Although both of these concepts are actually referring to a deep and consistent state of mind, many people have become confused. Instead of cultivating a positive mental state, they believe that self-care is all about face masks and relaxing bubble baths.
The author affirms that performative acts of kindness towards ourselves definitely have a place in our lives. But he also believes that self-care should go beyond the skin-deep. Instead of applying a face mask and believing that we’ve solved all our problems, we need to transcend the small and performative activities to invest in a life-changing mindset. And that’s where self-compassion comes in. You can think of self-compassion as being the “supersized version” of self-care or self-love. It might also help to think about self-compassion as a verb. In short, self-compassion is a consistent and pervasive mental state that prioritizes the cultivation of self-awareness and kindness to one’s self.
And the first step in your self-compassion journey is simple: learn to replace your negative coping mechanisms with positive ones.
So, how do you do that? When you’re putting this concept into practice for the first time, it might help you to imagine that you’re talking with a friend. Maybe your friend has told you that she’s sad or struggling withsomething in her life. So, when your friend confides in you about her problems, would you tell her to suck it up and stop being such a baby? Unless you’re a terrible friend, that probably wouldn’t be your default response. Instead, you would respond in comfort before you did anything else. You would tell her that you’re here for her and ask if she’s okay. You would ask what happened and how you can help. And as the two of you talked through the problem together, you would try to help her focus on the bright side or remind her of her good qualities. Even if it became apparent that your friend was in the wrong or had acted inappropriately, you would likely handle the issue in love and gently encourage her to see how she could improve in the future.
In short, we can imagine that — in pretty much any scenario — you would be much kinder to your friend than you ever are to yourself. And as you’ve probably inferred from this example, we need self-compassion because it advocates a kinder, more positive, and more productive way of responding to life’s challenges. However, practicing self-compassion also requires unlearning some negative habits because self-compassion is rarely our default. The author acknowledges that, at first, being kind to yourself might make you feel silly. Because society conditions us to prioritize other people’s problems ahead of our own, you might feel overly self-indulgent or want to laugh at yourself. This is because Western society over-values personal responsibility. Believing that you control your own destiny might sound empowering at first, but it also leads to the impression that you are responsible for everything that happens to you. And as a result, it’s easy to convert that feeling into self-blame. This, of course, feeds your inner critic and you might have a history of asking yourself questions like, “Why did you let yourself get fired? Why did you believe they liked you anyway? Why are you letting yourself be sad about that?” None of these questions are constructive. In fact, they are gross distortions of your sense of personal responsibility and they invite self-abuse. So, recognize that if you’re responsible for anything, it’s unlearning these thought patterns.
That’s why your next step is leaning into that self-compassion — especially when it seems silly — and carrying on even when you want to laughat yourself. As you make a habit of engaging in this practice, you’ll slowly convert your self-criticism into self-comfort and learn to be at peace with mentally giving yourself a hug. You might even start to re-write your negative coping statements (those “You’re an idiot!” or “What’s wrong with you?”) messages into something positive. Instead of engaging in those harmful criticisms, you can replace them with statements like, “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” or “It’s okay if you’re frustrated; you’re trying really hard.”
As you can see, the difference between these statements is obvious. For where one type of self-talk is abusive and demoralizing, the other advocates a kinder and more sensitive approach. Rather than wallowing in harmful attitudes that will drive you to give up, you can practice statements rooted in self-compassion that will motivate you to achieve positive change. The author asserts that part of that positive change is creating some space between yourself and your pain. We often forget to do this as well because negative self-talk invites us to dwell in the pain. This can make us feel as though we are lost, awash in the suffering. But when we practice self-compassion, we achieve a new perspective. By comforting ourselves as we would a friend, we are able to see clearly and acknowledge things like, “I’m hurting right now,” or “I feel worthless right now.” But by contrast, you also recognize that you are more than your feelings and that there is more to life than your pain. In this respect, comforting yourself can also be empowering because it serves as a reminder that, no matter what you feel you have done wrong, no matter what you dislike about yourself, you are also an agent of positive change.
Chapter 3: Final Summary
When you hear phrases like “transform your life through the power of positive thinking,” you might instantly associate that phrase with toxic positivity. And if you do, you’re neither wrong nor alone; many self-help books and well-meaning people offer advice like, “Just think happy thoughts!” They fully believe that their advice will help you create a better life for yourself. But the reality is that this is neither accurate nor realistic.And that’s why Vex King advocates for a philosophy that is both actionable and accessible for everyone.
By providing practical and positive tips, King believes that he can transcend toxic positivity and offer a roadmap for a truly happy life. So, if you want to fill your life with good vibes, King suggests that you begin to think about the energy you attract to yourself. When you learn about the law of attraction and begin to make it work for you, the author believes that you can literally attract good vibrations to your life. This — combined with the power of speaking your desires out loud — will help you manifest the things you want. It’s also important to practice self-compassion by cultivating an attitude of kindness and speaking gently to yourself. When you practice these two tips together, you can improve your happiness and your quality of life.