“The more people hold beliefs that others expect them not to experience negative emotions, the more frequently and intensely they are likely to experience those negative emotions.”—
Feeling bad about feeling sad: the role of social expectancies in amplifying negative mood (2012) by Bastian et al.
Interesting paper about how our perception of how others expect us not to feel negative emotions ends up making us experiencing more negative emotions.
As the authors say:
One does not need to look far to see which emotions are socially valued and more normative than others. Daily we are reminded of the value of happiness, from TV advertising that highlights the hedonic pleasures of consumption, to national campaigns designed to improve happiness and well-being. Meanwhile, commonplace emotional experiences such as sadness, depression, or anxiety are pathologized and medicalized, viewed as deviant from the desired norm […]. Negative emotions are touted as bad for our health […], have been shown to impact negatively on those around us […], and can be “cured” with a wide array of drugs and interventions designed to quickly and efficiently return us to normality. On the other hand, the many benefits of negative emotions, such as their creative potential […], importance for interpersonal relations […], and role in achieving a rich and meaningful life […] are rarely prominent in current social discourse.
I feel that these counterproductive notions are promoted also by some branch of psychology, like positive psychology. When I was studying the literature for my thesis I’ve read something about grief therapy, a form of psychotherapy the goal of which is to help people cope with grief and mourning following the death of loved ones, and it turns out it increases the depressive symptoms.
Negative emotions are not always negative for you.
You’re allowed to be sad. And depressed, and anxious and whatever.