08 Mar Happiness is…in the positivity of your thinking
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. _ã_Helen Keller
While Dr. Martin Seligman is considered the founding father of positive psychology, Barbara Fredrickson might be considered the founding mother. She has determined a ration for determining what it will take to turn around our negative thinking. I never thought of myself as a negative thinker, but maybe I need to get a second opinion.
My best friend, Joel, is both a psychologist and photographer. He is warm, sensitive and caring. He is a professor at the local college and is thoughtful and caring with his students. He and I are cyclists and have ridden perhaps thousands of miles together. So why does he occasionally bother me? What character flaw of his gets under my skin?
He is too damn nice.
I mean it. He is way beyond my limited way of being in this world. It was Joel who introduced me to positive psychology and dragged me, kicking and screaming to the first international positive psychology conference. Geesh, how low can a guy go?
Why is he is so aggravating? Here is an example: We are doing a sponsored 50-mile bike ride, which means there are several dozen people doing the ride as well. We are raising money for charity. It is a beautiful day. We are tooling along around the 30-mile mark, feeling fine. Some poor schnook has broken down by the side of the road with a flat tire. He doesn_ã_t have a bike as nice as ours, and is making a halfhearted attempt to inspect his rear wheel. Joel stops and asks if the guy needs any help.
_ã–I don_ã_t have a tube to replace the flat,_ã says the guy.
Joel opens his tool bag and takes out his one and only tire tube and hands it to the guy.
_ã–Here, this is the same size as yours,_ã says Joel.
The guy is so appreciative and thankful, he offers to buy it from Joel, which you know Joel refuses. I am dumbfounded. We mount our bikes and ride away to the ever-grateful chant of the guy with the flat tire. I am livid.
_ã–How could you do that?_ã I say to Joel as we ride away. How could you give the guy your only tire tube? What if you get a flat?_ã
_ã–You have a tube that is the same size as mine, and what are the chances that both you and I would get flats?_ã
I hate when he uses logic that I understand. Of course ,he was right, but what kind of guy gives up his only tire tube on a 50-mile ride? The kind of guy who thinks way more positively than I do. I never would have offered the guy my tube_ã”you see, it is mine, and I might need it, and if I don_ã_t need it now, I will need it in the future, so the poor guy that blew his tire should, of course, be left on his own to suffer.
I am comfortable with being a curmudgeon, and being a bit stingy. All of this being positive stuff takes a toll on me. It is hard to get my brain around it, but Joel seems to be in a good place, and happy damn near all the time, so I figure it is worth checking out.
He drags me to the International Positive Psychology conference…
…want to read more from PsychCentral about finding happiness in positive thinking? Just click here