June 7, 2013

everything happens

i love positive psychology.
does that sound so cheesy? probably.
that's ok.
it teaches me so much about myself and human beings in general.
it teaches me that happiness is everywhere.

more importantly, i often am able to apply the concepts learned to my understanding of the gospel and my relationship with Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ.

in the book, authentic happiness, the author talks about how he arrived at the decision to research positive psychology and authentic happiness (chapter two). i wanted to paraphrase and quote a section of this chapter:

seligman realizes that he's quite the grouch and a pessimistic cloud all his life. it's his daughter who drives this point home when she tries to talk to him while he's weeding the garden and gets annoyed. she leaves and comes back to tell him, essentially, to stop being a grouch. years ago she had decided to stop being a whiner, so he could decide to stop being a grouch. he says it was in that moment he resolved to change...
more importantly, i realized that raising nikki was not about correcting her shortcomings. she could do that herself. rather, my purpose in raising her was to nurture this precocious strength she had displayed - i call it seeing into the soul, but the jargon is social intelligence - and help her mold her life around it. such a strength, fully grown, would be a buffer against her weaknesses and against the storms of life that would inevitably come her way. raising children, i knew now, was far more than just fixing what was wrong with them. it was about identifying and amplifying their strengths and virtues, and helping them find the niche where they can live these positive traits to the fullest.

i just love that!!
he realized that parenting wasn't about criticizing the weaknesses but cultivating the strengths.
this is the main focus of positive psychology: signature strengths.
we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses.
we are the happiest when we play to our strengths.

i believe this is a bit of what Heavenly Father's philosophy probably is.
He knows each of us inside and out --- He knows my flaws perfectly :)
He knows my strengths better than i do.

the Lord helps me strengthen and build up these innate strengths so that they can buffer me against my many weaknesses and the trials that come pouring down. with Him, my strengths become miraculous.

He also knows that i, personally, am harder on myself than anyone else need be.
He knows that i don't need to be told what my weaknesses are -- i'm all too aware.
however, He knows when i'm needing a chance to exercise my weaknesses and allows me to strengthen them.

if you go to seligman's website www.authentichappiness.com you will find several quizzes/surveys you can take completely for free. the one i highly suggest is the via survey of character strengths.

i learned a lot about myself when i took this quiz.
of my top five signature strengths, my top-rated was "spirituality."
that actually surprised me at first.... but then as i thought about it it made sense.

the Lord has recently provided several opportunities for me to grow and increase in this strength. it has always been an aptitude, but as i have been allowed to cultivate it i have become more trusting in the God who has created all things. i know that there is a plan for each one of us.

everything happens for a reason. i truly believe that.
i know that everything happens for a reason.