The light life gets personal. It’s hard to imagine that 2007 was fifteen years ago, but that’s how long I’ve been in the positive psychology business. First, as a doctoral student, then university teacher, and finally, as a mental health coach.

I called myself a “positive psychology practitioner” long before anyone decided to make that an official title, with a certificate program.

I was in constant contact with people in the field by lending my voice to the ‘movement’ where I interacted with some of the now, biggest names in the field. I almost became a MAPP myself, before my life imploded. Implode it did. Though, I don’t share that story here, I’m not shy about what happened.

Story Telling

When we share our personal accounts of life events, or life lessons, we become vulnerable to the judgment of others. The things that were once valuable, become worthless while the things we never noticed, become a glaring awakening to our personal development.

Sharing my story turned me into a bit of an outcast in the field. In my personal life, I lost everything within a very short period of time. I almost lost my daughter to a brutal experience on top of everything else. In telling the world my story, I was met with some shocking truths about some of the individuals I knew in our field.

Two core truths:

  1. Not everyone had the bandwidth or interest in hearing about grief or loss in relation to a positive psychology
  2. I was also met with a great deal of rejection when I didn’t pull out of the grief that followed my loss.

Today, I think back to that time as one of great pain, and a great awakening. We learn the most about ourselves when we also go through immense human suffering.

Personal Truth

As much as I grieved the loss of so much all at one time, followed by further loss as if everything in life was a domino, I also walked through the darkest time in my life. This darkness held onto one singular truth from all that I had learned and taught in positive psychology.

Stay focused on hope. A belief that not just wishful thinking, but actual, faith driven trust in the universe that there will be something better on the other side. I am not full of sunshine and rainbows, but then, I never was.

But, I am an experienced guide through grief, having walked through it alone. Very few people wanted to travel that journey with me. Those who did, did so authentically.

When we survive trauma, grief, or hardship that others will never quite understand, we also tend to learn a deeper sense of purpose, meaning and compassion that others may never fully embrace. Today, empathy, compassion and a realistic understanding of both happiness and sadness are part of my lexicon.

Today, more and more of you are also focused on applying the positive core values toward the meaning of suffering.

I know without a shadow of doubt, that it is the responsibility of the survivors to reach back, to help guide others through to the light.

Here’s to your personal journey through the light life.


Author: k.  Aren Henry has a masters in community psychology and an advanced graduate certificate in mental health counseling. The Light Life is part of her “happiness noir” series, copyright 2021 ©  She’s a private practitioner and researcher in the United States. Henry Healing dot com is her calling card. 


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