My journey with a MAPP?

To be honest, I’m not a MAPP (MSc Applied Positive Psychology). I’m a barefoot fangirl of the MAPP’s. Being a champion of the program is more complicated than a few words can describe. My journey with MAPP began with my study of all things positive psychology, kicked off by “What is good is not the mere absence of what is bad” (Peterson & Park, 2006). I began my journey studying trauma and community. I read that article, followed by the flood gate of researchers that followed, joined IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association) as a charter member, flipped to studying all things positive psychology, discovered the MAPP’s and began adjunct teaching at a local state university all within a year.

I brought positive psychology to that psychology department as a special interest class four times, before it’s popularity had the, then chair, turn it into a full time class for the 400+ psychology department. I made sure that the MAPP programs around the world were always part of the curriculum, and I often held pro bono workshops or discussions with juniors and seniors about the possibility of positive psychology in whatever fields they were going into. Careers in positive psychology are endless. Many of those students went on to do exactly that.

Five years later, my bottom fell out. The department completely changed. A full time Professor wanted to teach my class. My personal life fell apart. In the span of a year, I lost everything I’d been working so hard to achieve. At middle age, the accomplishments were already challenging (something I wasn’t aware of until I had to start again). Only now, I am beginning again as Karen 2.0. Back to basics.

Thanks to positive psychology and following the public research of the MAPP’s (some of whom became my friends at a distance), and staying connected to the empirical and supportive MAPPaLicious collective, I held onto what matters most. Focus on what makes life worth living. The discipline in purpose and meaning have helped me to stay balanced. Not always positive, as we know that’s impractical. It was perfect timing that the ‘Dark Side’ book,  (‘The Upside of Your Dark Side’,
by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener)  came out and the MAPP’s were a call to arms in spreading that notion. Nobody should be happy through tragedy and loss. Focusing on helping others, allowed me clarity and perspective on what is important in this world. Allowing myself to experience sorrow, made room for peace. By sharing the triumphs of those who have championed their goals, it has kept me in touch with my own through my darkest days. At first, I gave myself permission to rage. Then, with healing came the flood of gentling my soul, finding solace in kindness toward self and others.

My happy lies somewhere between contentment and peace. Celebrating my friends the MAPP’s as a fangirl has given me a greater gift of joy than boasting about my own life. Today, I live a simple life and write about the clarity that came after the storm. Positive psychology is always the base for all else.

‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’



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