Perhaps the most prevalent idea about the British is how cool and calm they are – the famous stiff upper lip attitude. For some, this attitude has negative connotations, but what is it really all about? I read this very interesting post about the British stiff upper lip that gave me a totally different perception about it.
According to UsingEnglish.com, stiff upper lip is an idiom which means “If you keep your emotions to yourself and don’t let others know how you feel when something bad happens, you keep a stiff upper lip.” Based on this alone, I do not think that it should be a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is, in a way, showing one’s strength and ability to handle adversity.
I like what that blog post (what I mentioned in the first paragraph) had to say about this:
Is this because we’re unemotional and icy-hearted creatures? No, in fact it’s because we’re exactly the opposite. The British are sentimental, romantic, and softhearted to an absurd degree. We are hypersensitive to the suffering or joy of others to the extent that it’s actually unbearable. We’re also extremely polite and, consequently, don’t like to upset others by pouring our own emotions out for all to see. Also, we don’t like wasting time on the bleedin obvious.
Other cultures may prefer to pour out their hearts and emotions to the rest of the world but this does not mean that it is the “right” way. Seeing things in this perspective, it makes you think that maybe, keeping a stiff upper lip just might be better. What do you think?