Thursday, June 21, 2012

More on Authentic Happiness

In our short four-session class on Authentic Happiness, our teacher Ben tried to give us a smattering of the related philosophies.  One of his favorite’s was Dr Martin Seligman, a promoter of positive psychology and author of Authentic Happiness and Flourish.  Seligman advocates well-being through the acronym PERMA:

    Positive emotion (I thought of the palm reader telling me to smile more)
    Meaning or purpose
    Accomplishment or achievement
Through my writing I’m finding so much of what Seligman says we need.  Certainly I’m feeling a deep sense of engagement with the writing and with what it requires both practically and emotionally.  This blog is the first time I’ve made a commitment to myself and kept it.  While I pretty much always keep all my commitments to others, I don't keep my commitments to myself.  This is a first.

I feel a sense of relationship and connection because I'm more connected to all of you who are reading — even those I don’t know elsewhere in the world. In addition to the regulars in Russia, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Chile — recently there have been a few in Hungary, the Palestinian Territories, Australia, and the Philippines — though I seem to have lost connection to my readers in the UK. Still, your emails and comments let me know we are connecting.

Given that I am tech-challenged, for me there’s a great sense of accomplishment at having created a blog — and at seeing the numbers rise. (Sixty posts thus far, 6500+ pageviews!)

And when it comes to meaning and purpose — well, I do wonder if looking back is actually helpful.  Does it makes sense to rehash what was and what wasn't?  What do you think?

For more on authentic happiness,
 our class watched a TedTalk by Brené Browna research professor, on the power of vulnerability.  It's full of insights about hurt and shame and how our society doesn't deal well with negative feelings.  Every time I listen to it, I get something good out of it.

And speaking of listening, my therapist recently gave me some profound advice on how to improve the way I relate
to my newly adult children. 

    “They want your engagement emotionally, not practically."  (Translation: They’re generally not looking for my advice.) 

    and her most valuable insight —

   “During this period of transition, you need to have BIG EARS, small mouth.”
That is great advice.

I've decided that for me there is value in looking back.  Until I understand, acknowledge, celebrate and/or mourn the events of my past, how can I fully move forward?  Through this writing I'm going to try to do what Brené Brown says in her talk  —  

Lean into the discomfort.”

Maybe in your way, you will too.


  1. One reason (among many) that I'm so grateful for my children is that they've forced me to "lean into my discomfort." I've gone places with them--both literally and figuratively--that I never could have imagined myself doing. Leaning into the discomfort is great advice.

    1. And we have Brené Brown to thank for it...thanks Marge!

  2. Great writing and super advice, particularly the "big ears and little mouth", so so true and sooooooo hard to do!

    1. thanks hope and YES it is SO hard to do..I made that collage to remind me...may hang it in the kitchen!

  3. Looooooooooooooooooooove watching you grow and thanks for helping us, your humble readers grow too. 6500 page views! I am so impressed and encouraged!! Congratulations.

    1. teri thank you so much and courage & growth to YOU on your California journey with Kum Nye!