Yes, we all agree: It is important to look forward in difficult periods and to fight through the dark times. Positive thinking is very important; it protects you from self-destructive thinking. However, there is a dangerous trend in our society: the universal response "ALWAYS THINK POSITIVE".
Whether it is a bad love affair or a difficult job, the slogan puts a mechanical smile on our face, even if we have not reflected or digested the problem. The Harvard psychologist Susan David describes the effects of such a observations in her new book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life.
Negative emotions reveal a lot about our character - especially during workdays. If your job feels like a burden and you have to fake a smile every morning, you are ignoring important feelings. Frustration and dissatisfaction reveal what we would really appreciate in a good working environment. A simple example: If you are constantly annoyed by the behavior of your manager, you simply do not agree with his values and morals - there is a different understanding of the term "teamplayer". You should consciously observe these emotions and then reflect on whether you want to work in such an environment - or what would be a better alternative.
"ALWAYS THINK POSITIVE" can have serious consequences: a rigid smile eliminates all emotions and hinders you to reflect on your feelings. If you ignore negative emotions, they will come back at you some day - a big dark catastrophe, that you cannot control anymore. The slogan should not force us into a mental corset.
We need to listen to our emotions so that we can see if we fit into a work environment or a team. This confrontation makes us empathic, open, more reflective and more self-conscious. We have to listen to our emotions as a silent observer from outside, questioning them and finding solutions. Only then we can develop a stable character and find our true vocation.