”Everything is hard in the beginning, then hard in the middle, and hard in the end.”
”There is nothing difficult in the world, as long as you are willing to give up.”
”How can you meet the storm without experiencing the wind and rain…”
”The success without rejection will never last… …”
In recent years, the term “chicken soup for the soul” seems to have taken on more and more derogatory meanings. But the “poisonous chicken soup” that pessimistically describes the difficulties of life, like the above few sentences, is widely circulated.
Why does the negative overtake the positive? Why is the soul chicken soup not fragrant? Is “poisonous chicken soup” harmful or beneficial?
Is it “chicken soup” or “trap”
In China, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” emerged in the 21st century. The rapid economic development and the advent of the information age have made life full of previously unimaginable possibilities. The wisdom inherited by the elders is no longer enough to guide young people’s new lives, and a variety of voices have replaced the previous sole authority.
In this society full of uncertainty, everyone wants to be happy, but the road is bound to be full of thorns, and everyone will inevitably encounter failure and experience disappointment. At this time, if you can read some inspiring and comforting sentences, you may be able to cheer yourself up and continue to work harder with optimism and motivation. “Chicken Soup for the Soul” is therefore very popular. “Chicken soup for the soul” is popular in popular life, and in the psychology field, there is also a wave of positive psychology that emerged in the late 20th century. Its advocates believe that the previous psychology paid too much attention to the negative and pathological aspects of people, while ignoring the positive psychological qualities, and proposed to pursue happiness as the research goal.
What is happiness? Early advocates of positive psychology focused on subjective happiness, defining happiness as the maximization of positive feelings and the minimization of negative feelings. They further pointed out that everyone can obtain happiness, and everyone should pursue happiness.
”Chicken Soup for the Soul” aims to help people continue to cheer up in the face of unsatisfactory life and maintain the optimistic spirit of believing that they will be happy in the future; positive psychology advocates people to pay more attention to positive feelings and less attention to negative feelings. Both seem to be very good, but in fact it is very likely to lay a “happiness trap.”
Temporarily eliminate the “itchiness” in life
Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an influential psychotherapy in recent years. The book “The Happiness Trap” about ACT points out a set of popular myths about happiness in today’s society and culture: happiness is the normal state of people, and the lives of others are generally happy, so I should be happy too. Unhappiness is a defect. Negative emotions make me unhappy. For a better life, we must get rid of negative emotions. For this, we need to be able to control thoughts and emotions.
Think about it carefully, is this set of ideas exactly what the “chicken soup” contains? “Chicken soup” keeps telling us that happiness can be achieved, and we will be happy in the future. The purpose of “chicken soup” is to help us get rid of negative emotions, help us gain a sense of control, and sometimes even control our thoughts and emotions.
Why is this a myth? The book “The Happiness Trap” tells a very vivid metaphor: the negative emotions and thoughts brought about by the unsatisfactory in life are like the itching of the skin. Once we are caught in the myth, we will keep scratching once we feel itching, and scratching can be short-lived Eliminates the itching, but once you stop scratching, you will soon feel itching again. If you try to control the itching by scratching, if things go on like this, the result will only scratch the skin and cause more pain.
When many people first saw “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, they felt very “nutritious” and benefited a lot. But after watching too much “chicken soup”, I gradually found it empty and tasteless-just by believing those dry words, it is impossible to make the happiness and success declared in it become reality. As time passed, the effectiveness of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” became weaker and weaker. More importantly, if you make yourself work hard by establishing an illusory “happiness” as your goal, this “happiness” can’t really be achieved at all, and it will only make people more painful.
“Poisonous chicken soup” is not poisonous
In fact, the concept of happiness that seeks pleasure and avoids suffering bears a deep cultural imprint of western individualism. Cross-cultural psychology research has found that, unlike Westerners’ pursuit of maximizing positive emotions, Eastern cultures pay more attention to the balance of positive and negative emotions. Confucianism says that “the unprofessional of happiness, anger, sorrow, and happiness is the midst, and the middle section is the harmony”. Taoists say that “misfortune comes and blessings are relied upon, and blessings come and misfortunes are perverted.” We are accustomed to suffering and happiness in life. , Just like the few words expressed in the “poisonous chicken soup” at the beginning of the article-things in the world are difficult, just give up if you are too difficult, and the success that is repeatedly rejected will last. The popularity of “poisonous chicken soup” is a reflection of this kind of emotional moderation-facing the fact that life is inherently difficult and full of ups and downs, it is better to directly express negative emotions than to force optimism and smile. Talking about the difficulties of life will not make life more difficult, but will help to accept the facts and live a peaceful and balanced life.
A major source of human suffering is “specialization of negative experiences”, that is, the belief that the problems encountered are unique to oneself. In response to this problem, a key step in group psychotherapy is for group members to share their own problems, so that members are aware that others are also facing their own problems.
”Poisonous Chicken Soup” achieves this function. Although the message of “Life is so difficult” is not positive enough, it can make people feel less lonely and less self-satisfied when encountering ups and downs. After all, “There are many people with whom I have The same experience.”
In addition, “poisonous chicken soup” is always some unexpected sentences—the beginning of “chicken soup” and the end of “anti-chicken soup”. These sentences themselves are ridiculous, which is a typical “joy in hardship”.
”Chicken soup for the soul” is like scratching when itching, and “poisonous chicken soup” is a ridicule of itching. To ridicule means to accept it-being able to ridicule the reality that is not optimistic is an optimistic attitude.
Life is more than just the present, there are tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. If the “poisonous chicken soup” can help you smile, then not only is it not poisonous, it will have a tonic effect.