As discussions around mental health and wellness are becoming normalised, greater emphasis must be placed on the kind of psychology that is used as well. Too often people lean toward the positive side of psychology as a method for people to correct their behaviour. While it is good that more people are talking about positive psychology, it is equally as important to talk about the facets of psychology that are perceived as negative as well. Otherwise, the conversation does more harm to others than good.
When Positivity Breeds Negativity
If you work in a managerial role in your company, you may tend to consult a lot of self-help gurus and personal growth trainers for advice and research. On the face of it, it is quite beneficial to look to a personal coach for guidance. However, you need to find one who can encourage you while keeping you grounded in reality.
Unfortunately, while most of these people base their professions on inner strength and optimism, some may take it too far to the point of promoting toxic positivity. The philosophies that these types of motivational speakers promote seem uplifting on the surface, but they often lack the true depth and insight that purposeful leadership has. While a leader is meant to encourage their team, they are also meant to understand and be honest with them, too.
Sometimes when we are trying to help people, we lose our way. Indeed, berating a person for not being positive when they open up about an experience involving neglect, abuse, or trauma does them no good. Instead of motivating them to be honest and seek healing, they’ll mistakenly believe that pretending to be happy will eventually make them happy. However, when faking it does not yield desirable results, resolving that trauma becomes necessary. Experiencing emotions, those perceived as positive and negative, are a normal part of the human condition. This is where ‘negative psychology’ comes in.
Redefining What Negative Psychology Is
There has been a push from many experts in psychology to normalise both the positive and negative sides of psychology, as they cannot exist independently of each other. Most people cannot simply force themselves to ignore their negative affectivity (thoughts and expressions) without serious repercussions. Truly, the belief that this is possible for everyone is both misplaced and dangerous. As such, recognising and implementing trauma-informed care practices is a huge part of negative psychology.
Though people need to have an optimistic but realistic view in life, it is not always easy for everyone to have such a mindset. While many concepts of psychology (MBTI, Freudian concepts, and more) have become the zeitgeist of recent times, these ideas are often hollow. Many directives that guide toward growth and recovery often exclude the reality that many people struggle with some form of trauma that distorts the way they think. There is a need to delve deeper into some peoples’ experiences to foster their healing.
There Is a Reason for Everything
Many people that hold negative beliefs about themselves do not just develop those mindsets overnight. It is a thought process that is sparked by and continually tempered by traumatic experiences. No one wakes up one morning and decides to be sad or anxious; rather, it took time to get to that point. A pessimistic mindset is usually deep-seated and can take time to unpack and understand. Any support for mental health should recognise this fact.
Whether a person is seeking counselling, therapy, or coaching, they can truly benefit from trauma-informed care. People respond better when they feel validated and encouraged over being dismissed and shamed. Much effort has to be placed into exploring the root of their trauma, as that is the pain point that must be addressed and treated. With time and consistent care, a person can eventually learn to move past their trauma and be kinder to themselves.
The Positive Effects of Negative Psychology
At its core, negative and positive psychology have the same end goal: allowing a person to forgive themselves, accept their flaws, and see themselves as worthy of love.
That being said, though positive psychology may put people on the path to recovery, only negative psychology acknowledges the need for them to address their trauma before they truly heal. This is because some people cannot move forward if they are still being weighed down by their past. Negative psychology enables healers to explore and understand the trauma to allow people to heal in the present.
Employing both types of care broadens the treatment for the person as it creates an environment where a breakthrough can take place. When a person no longer feels ashamed of their past trauma, they become more determined to resolve it and open themselves up to positive change. This is why relying solely on positive psychology does not always work as it is the wrong means to an end.
With more people beginning to talk about the importance of mental health and self-care, there is a need to include negative psychology in the conversation. Not only can it provide the trauma-informed care that so many individuals need, but it can also encourage empathy and understanding in the people around them. If you’re thinking of investing in yourself, it may do you good to find a leadership development coach who can offer you a healthy balance of positive and negative psychology practices.
Do you want to learn more about negative psychology and how it can help with your business? Contact Justin Maree Cox today.