It started with Grumpy Cat. He made us laugh at negativity while “aww-ing” at how adorable he is.
Okay, maybe it didn’t begin with a frowning cat (see image below) but he certainly embodied it. Wondering what it is? Refer back to the title of this post. “It” is the glorification of negativity.
And “it” needs to stop.
Gretchen Rubin, who I often quote from because she is so fantastic, describes a great example of this in her novel The Happiness Project. She describes a study in which participants were asked to judge the intelligence of two reviewers based on a review they had each written. One review was positive, while the other was negative.
The majority of people in the study said that the negative reviewer was more intelligent than the positive reviewer, even though both of the reviews were found to be equal.
Why is this? My guess was because negative people seem smarter; perhaps because they have a more “realistic” view of things.
Perhaps a more relatable example of this can be found on the talent competition America’s Got Talent. There are four judges: former Spice Girl Mel B, model Heidi Klum, comedian Howie Mandel and radio personality Howard Stern. They give their own thoughts on each performance – which can be anything from juggling on a unicycle to a musician jamming out with a band.
Sometimes, the judges get it right. And sometimes, they get it wrong. However, this depends on the viewers opinion. I would be willing to bet, though, that most people think Howard Stern is the most intelligent. Why? Because he is known for giving more negative comments; plus, he usually dresses in all black. And his last name is Stern.
With people thinking negative equals “smart”, it’s really difficult to be happy. It’s hard to try to see the glass half full instead of half empty, when there are people who seem to be intent on draining your happiness. It’s as if being sad is “cool”; it has been glorified, while happiness has almost been “de-glorified”.
People think that if you are happy, you’re not realistic about your life; whereas if you’re sad, you’re busy and juggling a lot of important tasks and doing good things with your life. I strongly disagree with this; when you’re happy, you are able to get more done – and you can have fun in the process.
I am a firm believer that life is better when you are happy, and I wish more people embodied this message. What do you think? To what extent will we glorify sadness and negativity before people realize life is much better when you are happy?