How can we craft a repurposed positive psychology? Our field created somewhat of a happiness monster. In truth? I find it a little annoying, not to mention more difficult for some people. I like the balance between the positives and the negatives. I don’t like the false positives that pulse through other fields after some leader somewhere reads about how happiness helps productivity. It tends to be the oxymoronic way of applying all the work that we do in the research and theory department.
I just read an article on another huge dot com about how people are terrified to disagree with the leaders. They are worried and stressed out that a difference of opinion will make it impossible for people to feel negative emotions at work or at home. They’re being forced to be ‘happier’.
What have we done?
I love to laugh, so strongly adhere to the laugh therapy ideals. But I equally benefit from being really angry with something. It motivates me to want to change a thing or become more aware of myself while in the internal battle with the idea of what made me angry in the first place.
We have this beautiful thing that is a positive side of psychology, but some people have turned it into a cash cow. Of course it’s wonderful to feel, look and sound happier. I’ve seen the dark side of the concept of staying positive. It’s used as a mantra to the point where, the employees, though unhappy, were basically told that they will be happy and positive because science said they had to. The dynamic was hard to watch. The leaders were completely out of touch with the employees. The employees resented them for it.
What if we took the classic research that lead us toward this cast of thousands of super happy people, revisited it and show the world the historical significance of the balance?
What if we all published freely, allowed full access to demonstrations, or all flow to our corners of the world with the value and benefits of both mental health and mental illness? How we can flow toward a more evenly paved street of knowledge, as a continuation of the push for the positive?
What if we cultivated our empirical understanding of the pyramids, the scales of balance, and the pillars that hold up the perfectly imperfect joy of being human? We all talk about these things. But somewhere in-between teaching or preaching it, we have given the public the idea that they all can be happy if only they try.
Very few people heard that extremely important message that we have thresholds. Some of us are very happy being a little sad. Some of us are fully content with life as an average person, with no aspirations to become the happiest on earth.
My theory is, take the pressure off, allow it to grow organically. Ultimately, we’ll all be happier.
Author: Karen Henry [Daly], MA CRM owns Henry Healing as a holistic well-being practitioner and writer. She’s a former university professor and current scholar practicing the infusion of holistic healing and positive psychology.