Sam Radford

January 30, 2024

Dead people goals

Ever wondered if being positive all the time is actually bad for us?

I know I have. And Susan Cain’s new book ‘Bittersweet’ is reaffirming that viewpoint.

The book is about turning ‘sorrow into creativity, beauty and love,’ and there are two phrases that have stuck with me from the pages I’ve read so far.

  1. ‘The tyranny of positivity’.
  2. ‘Dead people goals’.

Culturally, we are no longer allowed to be negative. No matter what we are going through, we are supposed to paste on a smile and put a positive spin on it all. 

Any expressions of sadness, anger, or stress are frowned upon. Suppression is applauded. 

But to wish for a life free from sadness, anger, and stress is to wish for the life of a dead person. Only dead people get to live free from pain.

Living creatures will experience these things. And they are normal, healthy, and not for burying under false positivity.

Not only that, but when we embrace rather than hide life’s more bitter realities, we forge an opportunity to create something sweet from them, allowing them to inspire creativity, beauty, and love.

Life is not meant to be all sweet, nor all bitter. Bittersweet is where it’s at.


About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.