The Tyranny of the Positive

The Tyranny of the Positive May 24, 2020

In this article I talk about how difficult it can be to talk about strong emotions when you suffer with a serious or chronic illness. There are attached two short videos by psychologists which speak about how trying to force ourselves or other people to “be positive” can be counter productive. If you struggle with grief, depression, anxiety, or simply concern about a health condition you may find these clips helpful. Or if you are well yourself but struggle to know how best to help a friend these clips may give you some pointers.

Read the rest or watch the videos below.



The first is called “How to help a friend in grief” and makes the point that trying to simply cheer someone up is often really damaging. We can’t heal someone’s pain by trying to take it away from them.

Watch this charmingly simple but profound video here:

The second video is a brief TED talk on Emotional courage. It explicitly discusses this idea of the Tyranny of the Positive.

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