In fact, researchers continue to find that the more we try to be happy, the less likely we will be.
“Pursuit” of anything (whether that’s happiness or money or a certain job or whatever) is a reflection of lack and fear. But “accepting” what it is you are after – because you know it already exists somewhere – comes from a place of self-acceptance and love.
Of course, being positive has its benefits. But so does being negative. In fact, without negativity, you would not be unable to discern the positive things in life. You wouldn’t know what brings you joy, meaning, pleasure and excitement. You wouldn’t have insight into the range of emotions and moods that make you uniquely human.
Half of who you are would be missing.
So the focus on positive has, to me, become dangerously commercialized. There are far too many books, podcasts and ‘gurus’ raving about ‘happiology’. What’s more, when most of the academics are also rolling out self-help books every few months, good and valid research gets lost (again) in the plethora of paper being propped up in retail book outlets.
Yes, let’s keep looking at the positive. And the negative. In fact, let’s look at all the elements that create ‘whole-ology’.
(In my Masters program, I wrote a review paper on this subject. Yup, it’s ‘academic’ – full of citations and wherewithalls and 20+ pages. Grab a coffee, or a beer, and have a read – The Good Side of Your Bad Side_Nancy Morris)