Positive psychology is one of the fastest growing fields within the science of human behaviour. With its focus on the sunnier side of life in much of its discourse, it's easy to believe that is is a science reserved solely for those individuals who are..for lack of a better word..happy.
Despite being a field in psychology with the word ‘positive’ in it, it’s important to understand that for us at Well Made Mama, positive psychology’s value is not just in positive experiences per se, but more about helping mothers understand how all experiences, positive and negative, can combine to help an individual grow, fight, and flourish.
The growing appeal of positive psychology, and part of what attracts us to its application, is an appreciation that there is more to human experience than suffering. That north of illness, north of just getting by, are an entire range of human experiences, such as strength, meaning, growth, engagement, pleasure, creativity and resilience, We see this as a crucial contribution to a complete science of human behaviour.
Yet just as illness is not hoped to be a regular or consistent experience of a life, it seems unreasonable to expect an individual to be perpetually positive. Life ebbs and flows. It is filled with challenges and trials. Each us has a complete range of emotions, ranging from anger to joy, that we can engage with on a daily basis. The science of positive psychology can not - and does not - deny that negative experiences are an ever present part of a regular, healthy human life.
So, at Well Made Mama, what do we believe is important for mothers to be able to take away from positive psychology’s contributions? We see the findings being generated by this new science as useful for mothers because they clarify that, in the midst of great change, humans can engage with their trials, adapt, kick butt, find meaning and even grow. That, in addition to sadness, anger and fear, humans are also capable of joy, courage, and forbearance. And that these experiences are not just ‘a nice to have’ - that they have purpose and utility for survival.
Motherhood, as we see it, is performance. Round the clock, unrelenting activity and demands on your mind and your body. We can not think of a single human endeavour that requires us to dig deeper, aim higher, or go longer than the raising of a child. Positive psychology maps not just the ‘happy’ - but the extraordinary that is in each of us. And it is the ‘extraordinary’ that motherhood demands. The more we understand of its mechanisms, the more we know about what supports it, and what can stand in its way, the better chance we have of putting the extraordinary to use.
You’re not a sugar-coated cupcake. You don’t need sugar-coated science. You’re the greatest super hero there ever was, and we don’t take your need for information lightly.
Positive Psychology is gaining interest and momentum because it tells us about what is right with us. That part of us that we can call up to get through what life has in store for us. We see its findings as an excellent ally in helping mothers to celebrate the good, work through the ick, and revel in the realisation of “Whoa..I had no idea I was this strong.’
Here’s to a positive science..of us!!