Our world needed the warm fuzzies by the 1990’s, but, do we need something more now that it’s almost 2022?
I’ve been a fan and advocate, teacher and practitioner of the positive psychology movement since 2007. We have changed how the world works. We’ve watched our conversations blossom into including discussions of thriving, happiness, flow, well-being and even our character strengths. We have encouraged a revolution of whole, healthy lives that include the good life.
The feel good mindset has tackled some of psychologies biggest challenges up until Seligman shone a light on the field as a whole. That is a monumental achievement that deserves to be honored.
We are glad for the shift in awareness. I am. In 2006, I was studying PTSD and I/O psychology. I had just kicked off my PhD program, a full decade after earning my master’s degree in community psychology. I felt like something was missing. The positive psychology of Chris Peterson’s article with Anacia Parks sparked the next fourteen years from me.
The original creators of the field deserve the accolades and warm wishes.
Happy Thoughts and Warm Fuzzies
In the course of fourteen years however, the message has gotten a bit lost with the fuzzies of other industries that monotonized the success of talking about happiness, thriving, grit, resilience, and other assorted key terms.
We’ve had spin off industries pop up right along with a collective of people who try to reign in the research for their own personal fortune building. The exact opposite of the original intention. Which was to share the data with the world. Until the world took the data and turned it into a toothpaste commercial (media meltdowns in general).
We’ve packaged it up as a gift that gives us the warm fuzzies ~ or, the idea that no matter what is happening in our lives, we can achieve an optimal, good life.
Then, it just got fuzzy.
Today, we wage war on happiness by pointing out that there is also a lot to be sad about, or that not everyone has the luxury to live that optimal life due to war, famine, despair, global pandemics, and the other horrible things going on.
We have dimmed the light a little
The light life, like life itself, flickers from time to time. I wonder what the positive psychology movement will be in fourteen more years, now that it has a counter culture.
Even in my own work in the darker side of the field, which addresses more of a novel approach to the literary world intertwined with the philosophy of what it means to be happy, I call out for a balance between the dark and light.
The APA has 54 divisions in the USA. The ACA has 18 divisions. Our three base pillars have expanded to a multi-billion dollar business. Researchers have become very wealthy. WE have choices.
When we’ve been doing something for so long that we clearly see the season’s change as people come and go, it’s acceptance that change is the only constant that truly gives us that feeling that everything will be alright in the end.
I look forward to seeing how our young students will create even further change. That’s what makes me truly happy ~ the warm fuzzies that something will evolve in ways we haven’t even thought of yet.
In Peace and Light,
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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