Living in this world where information comes easy, we’re often reminded to be happy and count our blessings. So much so that it has become a culture. But recently a psychology professor warned us that the culture of positivity has a dark side unknown to many.
According to Svend Brinkmann, a psychology professor at Denmark’s Aalborg University, happiness should not be set as a default emotion because being happy is not the ideal response in many situations.
In fact, faking it can prevent our emotion from developing.
“I believe our thoughts and emotions should mirror the world. When something bad happens, we should be allowed to have negative thoughts and feelings about it because that’s how we understand the world,” Brinkmann said.
“Life is wonderful from time to time, but it’s also tragic. People die in our lives, we lose them, if we have only been accustomed to being allowed to have positive thoughts, then these realities can strike us even more intensely when they happen—and they will happen,” Brinkmann added.
Don’t get him wrong guys, there’s nothing wrong with being naturally cheerful or enjoying a good self-help book.
The problem only arise when being happy becomes a a must, especially in workplace.
For instance, some employers emphasise on positive growth so much that employees are demanded to show their happiness. In other words, workers have to appear to be happy regardless of how they feel on the particular day. Don’t you think this is very much like ‘thought control’ already?
Admittedly, a witty and happy atmosphere can be enjoyable, but it shouldn’t stop the workers from discussing about traumas and morbid issues among themselves.
Besides, Brinkmann also said that self-help books are making the situation worse. The underlying principle that everyone has the power to make themselves feel happy implies that unhappy people are to be blamed for their own misery.
Emotions regardless positive or negative, are beneficial to us because sadness helps us to process tragedy while happiness reminds us to be grateful towards our blessings.
So guys, don’t pretend to be happy when you’re obviously not. Look at this Chinese man, he surely wasn’t afraid to display his ‘unhappy face’ when he was marrying an elderly grandma.