Nov 14, 2019
We live in a “tyranny of positivity” say U.S. psychologist Susan David: “Society demands that the ill remain optimistic, that women don’t show outrage, and that men don’t cry,” she says. According to her research, most people judge themselves for feeling “negative” emotions like anger, disappointment or sadness. But “repressing or denying these emotions makes them stronger and lead us to deadlock,” she maintains.
With a PhD in psychology and a professor at Harvard Medical School, for Susan David the key lies in so-called “emotional agility”. “Being emotionally agile means learning to live with our emotions, thoughts and memories in a healthy way. And also consistent with our values,” she explains.
It seems simple, but it’s not. To achieve this, she encourage us to accept our unpleasant emotions, to be compassionate with ourselves for having them and to pay attention to the message they are sending us: “Emotions are signs that tell us that something is important to us. We should pay attention because they guide us to act in line with our values,” she concludes.
Susan David is one of the most renowned U.S. psychologists in the field of emotional intelligence and the psychology of well-being. Her research on emotional agility took the psychology field by a storm on an international level. She is co-founder of the McLean Hospital’s Institute of Coaching in Massachusetts and the author of several titles, in particular the Oxford Handbook of Happiness (2014) and Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life (2016).