The majority of us have heard of positive psychology. and we may even already be applying this positive approach in our day-to-day lives to reach happiness.
Since the psychologist Martin Seligman wrote his book Learned Optimism in 1990, this approach has achieved noteworthy presence and relevance in the editorial market and in the world of personal growth.
The most interesting contribution that positive psychology offered in its time was that of shifting our focus from our pathological problems to our inner strengths.
From there, concepts like resilience, motivation, gratitude or emotional intelligence have become incredibly well-known and useful.
That said, all this that at a certain time had, without a doubt, its impact and relevance, now seems to be losing precisely that.
This is for a simple reason: in the current times of crisis, of changes and ups and downs both socially and economically, the theory of positivism seems to lack the shine it had in the past.
So much so that many psychologists and sociologists now believe that it is time to end the “supremacy” of positivism in the personal growth field.
However, this is not about replacing it but rather about reformulating it and understanding that sometimes it is not enough to just think positively for things to improve.
The positive approach does not always guarantee successful results
For a long time, positive thinking was the strategy to teach us to be happy, to understand that aspects like forgiveness, kindness and altruism help us to fight negative emotions like anger, rage, sadness…
Many of these ideas come from the well-known principle of, “change a thought to change an emotion.”
When we change the frequency of our emotions, we can improve our reality.
So, although this approach seems inspiring, reality is much more complex. Life has many subtle nuances, some of which we will all have come across at least once:
- When I go for an interview, I think positively. I trust and give the best of myself. Positive thoughts do not guarantee a job.
- I always gave the best of myself to my partner. I always trusted in our life project, I was positive, brave, considerate and communicative. However, none of this was enough to make the relationship work.
- I have a good education, excellent grades and I’ve always been top of my class… However, none of this has helped me get a good job.
Thus, something that we must understand is that sustaining positivity is and always will be essential.
However, it is necessary for us to learn to handle the more adverse and complex aspects of our day-to-day lives.
Happiness always has a small “trap” that you must accept
Good things don’t always happen to the people who most deserve it. What’s more, sometimes, friends and relatives characterized by absolute kindness and nobility have had to face the most devastating situations.
Why does this happen?
It’s worth pointing out that the law of attraction doesn’t always give results. It is not enough to want, to think, and sometimes even to act in a certain way to make what we want happen.
More than positive thinking, what we must learn to develop is a strong, flexible, brave and resilient attitude.
Books like “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris explain this in a simple and illustrative way:
- The society we live in “sells” us the idea that we must always stay positive. That we need to surround ourselves with positive emotions, thoughts, and happiness.
- If we let ourselves be led by this line of thinking, what will happen is that we will become so obsessed with the idea of being happy that we won’t know how to face or handle frustration, discomfort, and unpleasant emotions.
We can’t neglect this last point. Even less so given the complexities of our present reality. Competitive, changeable, and demanding conditions come with life. We must deal with adversity almost every day.
I accept and I understand my negative emotions so that I can strengthen the positive ones
I know there will be grey days when nothing goes right. Days when we feel rejected. We get things wrong. Days we lose something. We lose everything. Where we say or others say to us “goodbye.”
Days when we are forced to be strong, not just “positive”.
- Knowing and understanding this is essential for our personal growth.
- Anyone who is obsessed with happiness but doesn’t tolerate loss, disappointment or sadness, is unlikely to grow, progress and aspire to inner calm and well-being.
It is not about cultivating pessimism. But rather about being capable of tolerating the negative fluctuations in life to face them. We must get the best out of those moments of desolation and overcome them.
We must fight for happiness in a more mature, realistic and objective way.
To conclude, sometimes it’s not enough to see the positive in order for beautiful things to come into our life.
Sometimes, what comes isn’t good. But we need to accept it and handle it so that, further ahead, what we really want can happen.
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