Thursday, March 02, 2006

Authentic Happiness

I'm stealing the title from a site I found. Psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman believes that there is more to psychology than the study of what's wrong with our moods. Dr. Seligman has founded a branch of psychology called positive psychology. Instead of focusing on the negatives, Dr. Seligman's psychology studies positive emotional traits, character traits and postive institutions.

What a wonderful thing to study! What a wonderful way to put a positive spin on our personalities. By studying what makes something positive we can have a focus on how to create more positive feelings and interactions rather than trying to avoid the negative --and hope that that works.

Dr. Seligman works out of the University of Pennsylvannia and his website is Authentic Happiness. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A few good reads in the Blogsphere

Yesterday and today I read two really good posts that make sense to share on this blog.

One is on what do you want to do when you grow up? posted here

The other is Martian's post on why he works for himself. For him it's about freedom to do the things he really loves doing.

Both have much food for thought and I hope you enjoy them.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Every time we are challenged by people who frustrate us or work that frustrates us or life in general, it helps sometimes to realize that if everything were easy we'd all be enlightened.

According to Debbie Ford, the gift of challenging people is that they are uniquely qualified to show us those parts of ourselves that we disowned. Do we just hate angry people? Then maybe we have an inner angry person that we need to own. Anger can be useful if channeled correctly. It's when it's ignored that it becomes a problem.

Are we frustrated with irresponsible people? Where are we irresponsible? How do we want to be less responsible and where can we let that come out in a safe manner?

What about people who are always late? Do we wish we could be late? Are we behind in things we need to do for ourselves?

Each of these traits is a "shadow trait." The term shadow was originally used by Carl Jung to include all those things we don't see in ourselves. Debbie Ford has written about this and "put new wine in old bottles," according to a forward in her book, Dark Side of the Light Chasers. I think it's a wonderful metaphor for what she does.

Noting that each frustrating trait is a part of our own shadow can be an excellent way to relax into those encounters with frustrating people. Where am I too impatient? Where do I need to stand up and say it's all about me? Do I sometimes judge people too harshly? How do these traits serve me? What am I afraid of if I just act like that?

Good questions aren't they? The answers are often difficult to come by so maybe we ought to thank those challenging people for the insight into ourselves that they give.