We can be happy with negativity too


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
We can be happy with negativity too

As opposed to common belief that looking at the bright side makes us happy, an author has argued that we'd have a much better time if we actually took a more negative view of life.

Oliver Burkeman, who specialises in writing about psychology, it's time to embrace failure, insecurity and pessimism instead of trying to run away from it, and simply stop trying so hard to be happy if we want to feel more positive about life.

"For a society so fixated on achieving happiness, we seem remarkably incompetent at the task," the Daily mail quoted Burkeman as saying.

"One of the best-known general findings of the "science of happiness" has been the discovery that the countless advantages of modern life have done little to lift our collective mood," he said.

Romance, family life and work often bring as much stress as joy. Economic growth does not necessarily make for happier societies, just as increased personal income doesn't make for happier people.

After years spent consulting specialists — from psychologists to philosophers and even Buddhists — Burkeman realised they all agreed on one thing - the effort to feel happy is precisely the thing that makes us miserable.

And it is our constant struggle to eliminate the negative — insecurity, uncertainty, failure, or sadness — that causes us to feel so insecure, anxious, uncertain or unhappy.

Instead, they argued for an alternative — a 'negative path' to happiness.

It involved learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity, stopping trying to think positively, and becoming familiar with failure.

In short, in order to be truly happy, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions — or, at least, to learn to stop running so hard from them.
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