I recently came across this article in Scientific American about the importance of embracing all feelings. I have written on the importance of embracing negative thoughts & feelings on my blog before. You can read that post here - it's still one of my favorites.
The excellent Scientific American article focuses on why an ability to feel and work through a range of emotions is key to a healthy mind. I hope there are more discussions on this, because I have noticed a real trend in people obsessing over being positive ALL THE TIME. This is not possible, and also, counter productive. Sadness, anger and fear show up for a reason. They're showing us something.
Along the same lines, I have noticed a trend of people demanding others to be positive all the time also. This is part of the reason we feel guilty for expressing sadness or regret. There's always someone shouting back, "Be positive! Be grateful!"
This is rarely what we need to hear. More often than not, we need space to feel what we're feeling. We need to be heard, and to be able to get to the root of why these feelings are rising up. And we need to not be afraid of other people's feelings, and know that if someone is sad and it makes us sad, it's because we forgot that we, at all times, have ultimate power over our own thoughts and feelings. Someone else's sadness or anger does not have to dictate how we feel. We must remember our own inner strength is more powerful than anything that comes from outside us.
I hope you get a chance to read Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being over at Scientific American. Below is a quote from the author, which I found to be so well said.
In my psychotherapy practice, many of my clients struggle with highly distressing emotions, such as extreme anger, or with suicidal thoughts. In recent years I have noticed an increase in the number of people who also feel guilty or ashamed about what they perceive to be negativity. Such reactions undoubtedly stem from our culture's overriding bias toward positive thinking. Although positive emotions are worth cultivating, problems arise when people start believing they must be upbeat all the time.