It was kind of a nice “valence” break to dig into some positive emotions for a change! This week’s episode was a good reminder to me that while emotions like shame, anger, guilt, etc. are important emotions that we need to learn how to understand and relate to in a healthy way, there is a telos to our madness and that telos is a happy life. If we don’t really know what makes us happy, we will be rather rudderless in trying to manage our difficult emotions. Maybe that’s why happiness is tough to talk about so much… it’s the end we’re striving for, but not necessarily something we know how to aim for. We all have a very strong intuition about what happiness feels like, but a very inchoate idea of what it means and how to achieve it.
I really like Martin Seligman’s assessment that happiness is less a momentary state and more a consistent way of being. It doesn’t preclude the “popping up” of negative emotions (negative emotions are simply inevitable when you have a bunch of flawed people trying to figure out how to live well together), but merely reminds us that there is a flourishing that is natural to our human species and that is available to us.
It gives us hope, as it were. (Podcast episode coming March 2019!)
If you’d like to learn more about positive psychology, we recommend Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness. I plan to read Flourish and imagine it will be worthy of a recommendation, as well.
Finally, to inject a little pleasure into your life (and contribute a positively-valenced moment to the life arc that is your personal happiness), Diane has once again proved that her YouTube choices are top notch. I could not stop smiling at this video. Watch, be charmed, and (get ready for a soapbox) adopt a pet for maximum happiness-boosting!
Thank you for listening, thank you for reading! Before you go, comment below on anything that is giving you a positive-valence boost of pleasure towards your overall happiness. We’d love to hear.
Go be good… Jana