In her book Positivity, Barbara L. Fredrickson writes, “As I see it, there are two basic responses to hardship. Despair or hope. In despair, you multiply your negativity. Your fear and uncertainty can turn into stress. Your stress can morph into hopeless sadness, which in turn can breed shame. Worse than this mushrooming negativity, despair smothers and snuffs out all forms of positivity. With positivity extinguished, all possibilities for genuine connections with others are lost. Despair opens the gate to a downward spiral that may well lead you to rock bottom.
Hope is different. It’s not the mirror reflection of despair. Your hope, in fact, acknowledges negativity with clear eyes. More important, though, your hope kindles further positivity within you. Even the most subtle shades of hope can be a springboard for you to feel love, gratitude, inspiration, and more. And these warm and tender feelings open your mind and your heart and allow you to connect with others. So hope opens the gate to an upward spiral that empowers you to bounce back from hardship and emerge even stronger and more resourceful than before.
Some people — either genetically or intuitively — seem to understand the gifts of positivity better than the rest of us. We call those people resilient. They are the ones who smile in the face of adversity, reframe bad events as opportunities, and adopt a wait-and-see attitude about future threats. This doesn’t mean that they never feel bad. They bleed just like everyone else.” Continue reading