Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

The Usefulness Of Negative Emotions

Toggle
The Usefulness Of Negative Emotions
Answer
9/29/14 9:22 AM
There is a new book out right now by the psychologists Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Deiner called "the Upside of your Darkside." While the two psychologists are both positive psychologists, they believe that a little bit of negativity is good for what they call 'wholeness' and that negative emotions such as jealousy, anger , etc can be useful in certain situations.

All of this of course is based on studies of normal individuals. Not dharma practitioners. So I ask you , especially those who have navigated far along the path if you find negative emotions to be at all useful? What is your relationship to these negative emotions? Do you find them to be irrational?

RE: The Usefulness Of Negative Emotions
Answer
9/29/14 11:18 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
I tend to look at negative emotions like the book Focusing by Gendlin. You simply need to understand what the negative emotions are saying and that's enough. The wants and desires will always be on about something but reality cannot support endless satisfaction because our lives have limitations. I find that accepting failure while following projects is what can keep you sane and moving forward in life. Entitlement will kill you.

The best way for me to evaluate negative emotions is skillfullness. I find the negative emotions draining, (cortisol), and they prevent me from growing and improving. I prefer the Buddhist way because I'm actually getting more work done when I don't follow habitual preferences. I've had plenty of negative emotions in the past and they limit your growth as a person. Negative beliefs involve a negation of action by challenging the worthiness of actions to an extreme. If people gave into negative emotions all the time they would have zero resilience and lay in bed all day.

In the context of positive psychology the lack of negative emotions would only be a problem in rare circumstances (rich people with no real problems). I don't think that's a problem in modern society for most people so the error that they make the most is having too little positive emotions and too many ruminating/spinning wheels reactions that stunt their potential.