Many people don’t understand what positive psychology is truly about. Positive psychology is not seeing things better than they are. Instead, it is a reaction to traditional psychology where main focus was to cure mental illness.

The goal of positive psychology is to go beyond just helping people get healthy, and help them lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. The focus is on personal growth, and not pathology. Learning to be content with the past, happy in the present and hopeful about the future.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should never experience negative emotions. There is a saying:

Negative emotions help us survive, and positive emotions help us thrive.

Both positive and negative emotions have their role. However, sometimes the balance gets tipped, and people get caught in negativity. The stories they keep telling themselves prevent them from being happy. And it may not all be a matter of perception - for example, someone who’s pessimistic may be less likely to change the unsatisfactory situation he or she is in.

In my experience, it’s all a matter of finding the balance: letting yourself be optimistic, but also having enough awareness to be realistic. Listening to both positive and negative emotions and understanding and appreciating the signals they are sending. And being hopeful about the things you can control, and content with things you can’t.