The Light Life went dark for a while. I had to pull back from writing in order to remember why I was writing in the first place. If I use the terms “purpose” or “meaning” or even, “grit and resilience” anymore, it’ll feel so very insincere. People today are calling out for us to tone it down with the pushing of our “positive thinking” in a year of so much sorrow.
Are we tone deaf to their needs? Are we listening to these advocates of sorrow? Some folks in our profession are offended that our audience isn’t responding as favorably to their production of research based pop-culture books; while others are in deed listening to the nuances of the times.
People want to feel their sorrow without feeling guilty for not being gritty enough or resilient enough. They want to be vulnerable, but they also want to be heard without being verbally abused on social media or in their workplaces.
We can see in the dark
When we sit in total darkness, the human eye can and does adjust so that we can in fact see … something. The same can be true for our ‘positive psychology’. We have to adjust our sails to include that toned down enthusiasm. We can work on developing more empathy and less preachy in our delivery.
We can cultivate kindness without dismissing the validation of anger that people need to feel, to heal. Instead of asking (telling?) people to build up a resilience to pain; perhaps we can instead, teach them how to sit in the pain without being afraid of it? Some helpers and healers are doing that. I do that in my holistic healing practice. I draw from more than one source.
One person wrote, “Stop telling me I need to have grit and resilience when traumatized. How about we learn how not to have the trauma in the first place. Go further back. Adjust the source.”
As a master’s prepared community psychologist, that is my origin story in the field. Prevention first. Healing as a last resort.
We can hear in the silence
“hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to talk to you again. Because a vision softly creeping. Left its seeds while I was sleeping. And the vision that was planted in my brain. Still remains. Within the sound of silence.” ~ Simon and Garfunkel.
Now is the hour of our discontent. (Shakespeare). Perhaps, we can take a clue in our field of the positive psychology by expanding to include our suffering as part of our healing. When we sit in our silent reverie, paying honor to our fallen friends and family, we are participating in the healing of our soul.
Dying is part of living. Sorrow is part of happiness. The dark and light can not exist without the other. When we embrace our organic existence as one being with many parts in a dance with every other organic being, we understand that we are connected and not until that awareness lights up our internal sky do we heal.
Peace and Light,
Author: K. Aren Henry has a masters in community psychology and an advanced graduate certificate in mental health counseling. She studied subjective well-being in her doctoral dissertation. Today, she’s a published author, a private practitioner, and former university instructor in the United States. Henry Healing dot com is her calling card. “K”aren dropped the k … she’ll write about it next week.
“We Are The Positive Psychology People”
Find out more about positive psychology courses and training at