Focusing our reality in a positive or negative way conditions the attitude we have towards life. Optimism is usually a virtue, but can being positive turn into something negative?
The vacuum positivism , also called depressing optimism is that attitude, sometimes even “mandate” that aims to be always happy. We live in a society that rejects negative emotions: ” Don’t be sad, everything will work out, think positive .”
The problem comes when crises or adverse experiences appear. Is it possible to continue to be happy in those circumstances?
All emotions, positive and negative (understood as pleasant / unpleasant and not as good / bad), are natural reactions in the human being and we need to feel them in order to understand them. They serve as our guide and each one has its own function . or the joy of getting closer to something beneficial.
How does it manifest?
- Tendency to simplify : if I don’t attend to negative emotions, then they disappear . Reject and block all unpleasant emotions.
- Constant Self-Assessment : Am I Well Enough? Do I properly project it to others? The fact that I repeatedly think if I am happy is exactly what makes me unhappy.
- And constantly evaluate others : am I more or less happy than others? Showing our apparent happiness on social media and comparing it with that of others locks us in a permanent circle of inauthenticity. The visible is not always the total, think of an iceberg.
- Feelings of guilt for feeling negative emotions. I do not know how to manage myself emotionally, I am incapable or I do not try hard enough .
Effects and consequences of empty positivism
Multiple studies confirm that high levels of happiness are related to a lower probability of getting sick. However, feeling happy has to be a consequence of good mental health, not an imposition .
- Empty positivism forces you to always be well, regardless of the circumstances, as if you could choose to be happy. If you can’t, you are not trying hard enough. This supposes a double discomfort : the inevitable suffering and, above all, the feeling of incapacity for not being able to control it from optimism.
- In his attempt to eliminate all that is unpleasant, he falls into superficiality , since he does not deal with the origin of what created the discomfort, but only blocks the negative emotion that it generates.
- If we silence some emotions just because they are not pleasant, not only do we lose essential information to be able to manage and develop ourselves personally, but it can lead to an emotional disconnection that can turn into psychopathology . For example, if a person does not allow himself to experience sadness in a grieving process, it ends up becoming entrenched and turning into pathological grief.
How to approach it?
- It is impossible to be well all the time , emotions are transitory and have to do with what happens to us, they follow their process and need to be liquefied.
- Do not make an effort to feel something you do not feel, accept it, but do not let them impose on you how you have to feel.
- Exercise intelligent optimism , accept that you are not in absolute control of everything, that you can face adversity by acquiring new ways of solving things that happen to you.
- Give up the magical thinking of ” if you think everything will be fine, everything will be fine .”
- Train therapeutic pessimism, it takes a certain dose of pessimism to be an intelligent optimist. If you couldn’t think about what could go wrong, you couldn’t take steps to remedy it.
- Do not indulge in negativity , do not make being bad an excuse for inactivity, take the reins and put yourself in the batteries.
- Stop valuing happiness as a criterion for social success . Feeling negative emotions does not mean that you are a failure.
- Relativize, recognizing your strengths and points to improve will favor your development and you will gain in well-being in an authentic way, not imposed.
- Abandon canned slogans of supposed happiness, create your own learnings based on what you are living.
What you should know…
- Feeling happy has to be a consequence of good mental health, not an imposition.
- If we silence some emotions just because they are not pleasant it can lead to a great emotional disconnect.
- We must not indulge in negativity, being bad should not be an excuse for inactivity. It’s about taking the reins and getting the batteries