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Reflections on a downside of positivity

“When too much positive is negative”


Sometimes an overdose of positive is actually negative.


Now don’t get me wrong…


I am a big supporter of the school of Positive Psychology, which has gained increased popularity in recent years.


Thankfully, gone are the days when psychology was simply a subject focusing on finding out what’s wrong with people and fixing it.


But more recent evidence also shows that over-optimism and blind positivity also has a downside in some situations.


And that is certainly true when it comes to emotions.


There’s a common misconception that to be a happy person you should only experience positive emotions.




True, nobody wants to be going around feeling miserable every day.


But to feel happy all the time is not realistic. That’s why it is more important to be mindful of your emotions and not judge them.


You see…


All emotions are good.


They are honest.
They are energy.
They are pure.


And what’s more…


They are telling you something important.


But you will only benefit from the valuable information your emotions are sharing with you if you are mindful of them.


That means being aware of them.
Being curious about them.
Noticing them.
Not judging them.


And not expecting your life to be filled with only positive emotions.


And there’s more…


Evidence now shows us that if you don’t experience negative emotions and appreciate them, then you won’t fully appreciate your positive emotions either.




Because you have nothing to compare the positive emotions to.


Until you have experienced sadness, you can’t truly experience joy.


Until you know what it feels like to be anxious, you won’t recognize feelings of calm and relaxation.


Like I said…


This is not about making sure you do experience bad emotions every day. (So cancel that thought you just had to go and pick a fight just for the heck of it!)


But expecting your life only to be full of positive emotions is unrealistic and will only lead to disappointment



I’m off to be mindful of my emotions, embracing both the positive and the negative.


How about you?


To your happiness and fulfillment.





Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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