Positive Psychology

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Viktor Frankl the famous survivor or horrific treatment in the concentration camps in Germany initiated Logo Therapy as he found that only those who had a specific reason to survive the concentration camp were able to do so. Frankl found that helping others to discover their reason for living empowered them to be well and happy. One of his sayings was 'Life does not owe you happiness, it offers you meaning'. This is well illustrated in the story about the builders who were asked what they were doing. One said 'I'm laying bricks' while the other answered 'I am building a Cathedral', both men were doing the same work but one was seeing a greater meaning with his work.

It is very personal to each one of us what we feel is important and of value in life. Altruistic values or transcending values that urge us to do something for others independant of personal reward have been found to create a high level of happiness and well-being over time. Even thought striving for momentary pleasures can bring high levels of happiness, more lasting happiness has been found through being committed to something greater than oneself and one's own problems. 'Worrying' about the greater good of the world can bring inspiration and initiative whilst worrying about oneself and one's close ones tend to produce anxiety.

The Free Hugs video shows just what a person can achieve by putting him - or herself out for others. As you might notice on the video, initially no one responds to his offer but after a while it escalates beyond belief.

This philosophy is what kept Mother Teresa of Calcutta going in the face of much opposition, a rewrite of Dr. Kent M. Keith's poem:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

There is a lot of evidence that when infants, toddlers and children are given unconditional love they thrive and develop into healthy, wholesome and happy adolescents and adults. Most people have been given a good amount of unconditional love through their parents or primary carers but as most people are somehow traumatised by their own stressful lives and flawed childhood experiences most of us end up wholesome and balanced in some areas and slightly neurotic, obsessive, dominating or cynical in other areas. Our true or genuine self might need a lot of encouragement to feel safe enough to reveal itself. While parents might find meaning in loving their children unconditionally others might find meaning in extenting themselves for others less fortunate. In the movie 'Dead Man Walking' the nun who visited the murderer on deathrow revealed how she could absorb his constant abuse because she felt she had been given so much love that she wanted to pass it on to others who had not had that same experience.

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