Has someone recently said to you: “I believe you are strong enough to fight your battles”? More importantly, did that person genuinely listen to your problems and concerns? If so, you are a lucky person. Truly lucky, not “I choose happiness” kind of lucky. It is OK to feel sad and lonely sometimes. It is what makes us all humans.
“I Choose Happiness” Attitude
Popular psychology has entered our lives a long time ago and as much as it helped us, it also made some almost irreversible damage. Apparently, when developing the “assertive thinking” or “visualizing success” methods, no one truly took into consideration one important fact. The fact is that it is in our nature to feel both sides of the emotional spectra. And working against nature can never deliver good results.
The mentioned “choose happiness” attitude appears everywhere. We can find its traces in our school system, at work, even among our family and friends. The trend is widespread. So, what can go wrong with this type of thinking, you may ask. Apparently, a lot.
The Traps of “Choosing Happiness”
First of all, the trend of choosing to be happy can be quite deceiving. Yes, it is natural to desire happiness. Paradoxically, it is also natural to be down from time to time. There are two traps here.
Enforcing positive attitude on someone who has real problems can be counterproductive. A person may end up feeling even worse than before. He or she may receive the message that the struggle that person is going through means that a person is not trying hard enough. Now, I am not an expert, but it is logical to assume that support is important. Helping your loved one to go through the healing process and find his or her own way is essential. Not introducing the tyranny of being obliged to choose happiness.
Furthermore, the trap of “choosing happiness” attitude can lead to sweeping things under the carpet. In order to heal, an individual should confront the problems and solve them. Choosing happiness is leading to denial and can alienate someone from reality. Although it may seem seductive to create your own world where nothing can harm you, reality is a realm we cannot escape from. Eventually, we need to wake up. Therefore, let’s not make things even harder for ourselves.
Benefits of Choosing Your Own Way
If you choose happiness, we are all for it. If this attitude works for you, go ahead. The purpose of this text is not to shame someone for his or her choices. The aim is to draw attention to possible downsides of “positive thinking” trends.
Sometimes, we forget that there is rarely advancement without clearing up the mess. Clearing up, not ignoring the mess. Get it? Or, as Alexis Conason, Psy. D., has elegantly put it:
“….expressing negative emotions is adaptive”. If we consider this thought further, we can also conclude that there is no evolution without adapting to circumstances. When we are adapting, we need to assess those circumstances and act accordingly. Alternatively, we would be wearing a blind fold and hope for the best.
To sum things up, we choose happiness as well. Only, we would prefer that happiness to be woven out of the both best and worst experiences in our lives that eventually make us what we are.
What is your choice?