Ranting about what’s wrong in the world can be cathartic – and an antidote to pressure to be upbeat
Lotta Sonninen was working on her third book in quick succession on positivity, when she suddenly realised her own positivity had drained clean away. “All those invitations to perk up, smile, find the happiness in everything were getting on my nerves,” she says. “I thought, hang on a minute. I’m sick and tired of finding the good in everything. What if we started to play with the opposite of all this – our negative emotions, the feelings we all have inside us that we’re not being encouraged to share? I thought, I wonder what’s happening to these emotions – and could we do something with them more useful than burying them?”
She started making lists that were the antidote to the mindfulness and positivity books she was translating: so instead of listing what she had to be grateful for, or what was lucky in her life, she turned to all the negative stuff in her life. All the angst and agony; all the silent anger and pent-up frustrations. How about a list of all those acquaintances and celebrities who’d obviously had it far too easy? And next, what about naming all those arrogant folk who thought oh-so-much of themselves? And those people who seemed not to have clocked that you really need to think before you open your mouth? And how about writing down the names of all those infuriating people who were clearly far less talented than her, but somehow way more successful?