top of page

Why Positive Thinking Sucks and Negative Emotions Are Essential

The subject line by itself should make you immensely curious, since this is contrary to everything that every trainer, article, or counsellor is telling you. And yet it is true. It is so easy to tell people to be positive all the time and so difficult to implement it in your day-to-day life, unless of course, you are one of those lucky beings to be far away from being the average householder living an average city life.

E-Motions = Energy in Motion

Movere, from the Latin, means to move. Exmovere or emovere means to move out, hence to excite. The roots for motion and emotion are virtually identical. So taking action means to move something inside of us, to stir something up, so utilize the energy within you to act now.

Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions have a purpose – whether they are emotions that make you feel comfortable or those that make you feel uncomfortable. Anger is protective, fear is a warning, crying is releasing. None of them are intrinsically negative or positive. However, right from childhood, we are taught to react negatively to them. Our reaction is dysfunctional, not the emotion!

By itself, emotional energy is completely neutral. It is the concatenation of feeling and physiological reaction that makes a specific emotion positive or negative. Feeling is what you label as anger, sadness, joy or fear. These are labels that we have created and taught – by themselves, they are just outbursts of energy.

Any attempt to suppress emotions is dysfunctional; it results in internalization of these energies and they get stored in the body unutilized leading to physiological problems. Energy in motion was meant to flow, not to be suppressed.

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. --- Theodore Roosevelt

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically and judiciously. Emotional intelligence is not about suppression and control, it is about emotional honesty, which is vital for emotional wellbeing and overall health of a human being.

Supressing, denying, distorting, and blocking our emotions due to a set of learned (false) beliefs, dogmas and tradition is what leads to psychosomatic health disorders by way of emotional and mental ‘dis-ease’. This emotional and mental disease in turn causes physical, mental and biological imbalance resulting in physical disease.

A good therapist is warm, non-judgemental and encouraging, so that a client has the liberty to express himself and talk about experiences which he feels he is unable to handle. This also means that the client should be free to acknowledge and express a full range of emotions.

Yet, ever so often, I find a client or even a quasi-client in routine daily interaction in my varied roles as a coach, mentor, boss or colleague would apologize the moment tears well up in his eyes.

“I am sorry, I shouldn’t cry.”

“I am sorry to sound so negative.”

“I am sorry for losing control of myself.”

“I am sorry to get so emotional.”

This clearly shows that s/he is feeling guilty and/or ashamed about his expression of emotions in front of another human being. Over the years, the number of people who perceive this to be negativity or inexpressible emotion have only increased. Almost all of this stems from our culture’s preponderant bias towards so called ‘positive thinking’ and it sucks!

Right from childhood, we are told that it is wrong to cry. Throughout our teens, we learn to bottle up our emotions and by the time we have traversed fifty per cent of our life’s journey, we have internalized so much emotional energy that physical ailments begin to manifest themselves. Undoubtedly, there are physical causes and abuses which are responsible for most diseases, but there are many more whose root cause is psychosomatic and not physical.

There is no doubt that ‘positive emotions’ are to be cultivated, yet problems arise when people start believing that they must be cheerful, happy and optimistic all the time and feel uncomfortable, guilty or apologetic if they feel otherwise, even for a few minutes. This is ridiculous, especially since all ‘negative emotions’ are as important a part of our life, as ‘positive emotions’ are.

Anger and sadness, for instance, are also emotional energy and although not worth cultivating, an important aspect of our life. Psychological well-being comes from acknowledging them and utilizing the energy and not from suppressing them. In fact co-dependency, or excessive emotional or psychological reliance on another person, stems from emotional dishonesty and suppression.

Continued in the next post on my blog.


The author, Rajesh Seshadri, is an internationally recognized Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Success Coach and Certified Life Coach. He is also a NLP Master Practitioner, facilitator and therapist. The basket of therapies is holistic and integrative adopting techniques from Psychotherapy, NLP, Silva, Gestalt, Hypnosis and Silva UltraMind. Additionally, he is a seasoned corporate professional who continues to serve as a whole-time Director and Board Member.

#emotion #negative #positivethinking #emotionalintelligence #emotionalenergy #beinghuman

189 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page