The Hidden Benefits of Cursing, Negativity, and Gossip
What you think of as your worst qualities can have some surprising upsides.
By Melinda Wenner
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the April 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
In nature, nothing is ever black-and-white, and every yin has its yang. Time and time again we discover that things we thought were unequivocally unhealthy—like germs or UV rays—can sometimes be quite good for us. (We're still waiting for some happy news about French fries.) And now researchers are beginning to find that the same is true of our habits and personality quirks. "In certain situations, what is typically a detrimental trait can turn out to be a good one," says Bryan Gibson, PhD, professor of social psychology at Central Michigan University. In other words, what you perceive as faults—even minor ones like blurting out curse words when things go wrong or doodling whenever your boss fires up an Excel spreadsheet—can, in the right context, be strengths. Here's why.
When optimism isn't the best solution