“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ― John Holmes
Finding the Truth
Before Taking Positive Psychology, my thoughts about the course were that of unassuredness and apprehension. I have taken many psychology classes and there has been a mockery from many people that deem Positive Psychology a joke. One professor went so far as to state that Positive Psychology is for those not strong enough to deal with the dark reality of life. However, just a few short weeks into the class, I realized that to be false. Positive Psychology is not about just focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative. It is about finding one’s strengths and pinpointing weaknesses that need to be worked on. It is about reaching one’s potential while remaining within realistic parameters. Human suffering, as unpleasant as it is, also has a bright side, compassion.
What compassion holds
The definition of compassion is an emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help. It is the reason people put themselves at risk or volunteer to help others. Compassion has been shown to have physical and psychological benefits as well. Research suggests that connecting with others in a meaningful way can speed recovery from a disease and even lengthen our life span. Compassion should be a desired trait for all Psychologists, especially those in a clinical setting. A patient can deduct almost immediately if the therapist in invested and wants to help them or if all they are a name and a time. If a therapist is compassionate and demonstrates they are willing to work just as hard as the patient to achieve a set goal, there is little that can hinder their progress. Positive Psychology opened my eyes to the necessity for compassion in all areas of our lives. It is often easy to become overwhelmed and lose compassion for one another.
Changing your point of view: Change you life
How many times have we been stuck in traffic due to an accident and said something to the effect of “someone better have died” because they are taking up our valuable time? We all desire connectivity with others; we are social beings. With so much focus and labeling the negative aspects of the human condition, it is a breath of fresh air to have Positive Psychology within the field pointing out people’s strengths and building people up. Whether it is listening to your child after a hard day at school, helping someone stranded on the side of the road, or feeding a stray dog, compassion goes a long way. Imagine the world where people were equally concerned for the well-being of others as much as themselves.
About the author: Kyle Hernandez is a Senior at Chaminade University graduating in December 2016. He has been accepted to the Boise State University Masters of Social Work Program starting in May 2017. His future goals are to receive his masters in Social Work and achieve licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).