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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Silver Linings

Positivity is all the rage these days.  

There's even a new branch of psychology dedicated to it.  Yet many people don't trust the idea that you can be happy all the time, that you can force the sun to come out.

They feel that people who act happy all the time are faking it, trying to appear as something they're not or worse, are trying to feel something they don't.  

By and large, they're right.

Heartbreak sucks.  Death sucks.  Loss of health, of employment, of self-confidence sap one's soul like a dark winter, sucking the spark of life right out of you.

To deny this, frankly, is delusional.

But that's not the point.  Positive psychology isn't about being happy all the time; it's about resilience.  

There's a whole science to resilience and what it means at the neurochemical level.  I could tell you about oxytocin and the positive impact it has on your ability to bounce back from pain both physical and mental.

I could also write about the addictive quality of so many things in our lives these days (ranging from buzzes on the blackberry to points on a video game, the stock market or at election time) and the way these hits close us off from the world. weaken our immune systems, make us reliant on our fixes rather than empowered through being part of something greater.

I don't need to.  We all feel how this stuff works, even if we don't know how to articulate it.  We prefer simple messaging, after all.

It's the half-glass thing; if you're optimistic, you see it one way; if you're not, you see it another.  It's an islands and ocean thing; if you're happy, the world is full of promise; if you're scared, or hurt, or depressed, not so much.

No matter which way you look at it, the other perspective is always there.  I find that recognizing this grounds me - it's a well of strength I can tap into whenever I need it.

You can't force the sun to come out from behind obscuring clouds.  You don't need to; that ever-present silver lining serves to always remind you it's there.

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