"dispositional traits, motives and goals (and related constructs), and life stories . . . Rather than thinking about these three features as levels in a strict hierarchy, therefore, we argue that they are best viewed as successively emerging of personality " . . . "We begin life as social , endowed with the temperament tendencies that will eventually morph into the dispositional traits that so strongly shape social performance while also comprising the first layer of personality. A second layer begins to take form in the elementary school years, when children become self-consciously motivated who set forth goals, projects, and value-driven programs for their lives, and direct their behavior accordingly. As Layers 1 (dispositional traits; the self as actor) and 2 (personal goals and their motivational accouterments; the self as agent) continue to develop over time, a third layer eventually emerges (especially important under the aegis of cultural modernity; McAdams, 1996) when the young adult confronts the identity challenges of his or her society and begins to a narrative identity. As we move through adulthood, personality continues to develop, with life stories layered over goals and motives, which are layered over dispositional traits. (McAdams & Manczak, 2011, p. 42).
"it seems that the field of positive psychology (and perhaps psychology more generally) is in need of an integrative conceptual and empirical framework in which to a) conceptually unify diverse topics within positive psychology, and b) determine which positive psychology constructs are most essential for bringing about the various positive outcomes of interest. I will briefly describe the candidate model and approach offered in Optimal Human Being: An Integrated Multi-level Perspective (Sheldon, 2004). The model attempts to provide a framework for achieving consilience (Wilson, 1998) between the different levels of science; this must in principle be possible, because they are all operating within a singular, self-consistent reality" (Sheldon, 2011, p. 422). Comment: this approach is very reminiscent of Miller (1978) and his living systems theory. Miller's monumental 1978 book of over 1100 pages detailed the various levels and interactions of general systems theory applied to life. This approach might be contrasted with more specific descriptions of levels or developmental levels, either in psychology in general, or subsets thereof. For example, Jane Loevinger's stages of ego development, Jean Piaget's stages of cognitive development, Erik Erikson's developmental stages, or Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Dabrowski's levels fall in the latter category.
Harvey and Pauwels (2004) noted that modesty and humility were two character strengths not related to life satisfaction implying that the individuals in the study display elevated self–esteem and consider themselves special. "We would posit that humility and modesty are human qualities very likely derived from the experience of loss and coping with this experience. The authors [Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004] note the possible special qualities of the Website sampled in their research. We might wonder whether a Web site such as that for "Compassionate Friends" (parents who have lost children) might yield similar evidence?" (Harvey & Pauwels, 2004, p. 621).
"American psychology is particularly behavioristic, concentrating on overt actions. This originates in a praiseworthy, though naive, effort to be 'scientific.' Of course it is the hope and goal of scientists to demonstrate, to prove, and to repeat the experiment in another laboratory. Yet we must face the hard fact that this is an ultimate rather than an immediate goal. By confining ourselves to the observation of external behavior, we overlook all sorts of human activities which do not show themselves externally in a simple form" Behaviorism originated in a sensible reaction against anthropomorphizing animal psychology, but the pendulum has swung too far, and instead it has rodentomorphized human psychology, studying the person as if he were just a complicated white rat. It is indeed a mistake to attribute human motives to laboratory animals, but is it a mistake to attribute human motives to humans?" (Maslow, 1965a, p. 30).
Comment: Seligman makes this extremely positive [perhaps even unrealistic] appraisal of the progress that "negative psychology" has made, almost to imply that this progress is sufficient and now we can move on to study something else. I also note that this is self–referential: "At least 14 disorders, previously intractable, have yielded their secrets to science and can now be either cured or considerably relieved (Seligman, 1994)" (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000, p. 6).
Self fulfilling prophecy: in explaining the above result, why the control group receiving no intervention increased their happiness, the authors gave the following explanation. "It is possible that being involved in a study about 'happiness' may have alerted participants to the topic and raised expectations that their happiness levels will improve, at least for the daily events group. In the case of the control group, although no actual intervention was involved, the process of answering questions relating to happiness may have been enough to encourage thoughts about 'what makes them happy' and subsequently raise their well–being levels. It is also worth noting that the sample included individuals who were interested in becoming 'happier', and hence were self–motivated to engage in activities to increase their happiness levels, even if they were not assigned to a specific intervention, as was the case for the control group" (Giannopoulos, & Vella–Brodrick, 2011, p. 103).
"Mirroring the general public, positive psychology researchers far too often rely on the pursuit of happiness as the ultimate criterion. An alternative perspective has been gaining steam, however, marked by an influx of attention to mindfulness, acceptance, and values, but this work often occurs in isolation from people interested in positive psychology (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007; Leary, Adams, & Tate, 2006; Wilson & Murrell, 2004). Because of this separation, complex issues such as how happiness goals might be diametrically opposed to mindfulness are often ignored. Again, it is useful to consider how the vast body of research that has focused on psychopathology exemplifies the challenges facing positive psychology. In several variants of cognitive therapy—not to mention optimism training—clients are informed that certain thoughts are dysfunctional. The first step is to increase self-monitoring and awareness of thoughts. The second step is to pinpoint thoughts that are dysfunctional with appropriate labels. The third step is to refute or challenge the validity of these thoughts. The final step is to replace these negative dysfunctional thoughts with more positive, constructive thoughts and thereby lessen the amount of negative emotion experienced. Essentially, some negative emotions and thoughts are problematic and need to be purged and hopefully replaced with more positive emotions and thoughts. In contrast, in mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions, clients are taught that thoughts are thoughts, neither good nor bad, and they can be observed and explored without getting snagged into a resource-depleting struggle for control. In cognitive therapies the goal is to modify the content of one's thoughts and feelings. The goal of acceptance- and mindfulness-based approaches is to change relationships with thoughts and feelings––taking steps toward meaningful strivings while observing and being receptive to whatever internal experiences accompany the journey. While both perspectives share features such as insight about how automatic, habitual mental reactions can increase stressful reactions, a person cannot be nonjudgmental, open, and curious toward thoughts while simultaneously holding the belief that well-being stems from refuting negative thoughts and then replacing them with more positive thoughts" (Kashdan & Steger, 2011, p. 11).
Kristjansson describes the three major approaches to happiness in positive psychology, number one: "Hedonistic accountsconsider happiness to be identifiable with pleasure as a raw, undifferentiated, subjective feeling. The happy life is the life of such maximized pleasures" Number two, life satisfaction accounts. These two approaches are often seen together and are considered subjective measurements simply asking an individual how he or she feels about him or herself and are open to issues like self–deception. The third approach, eudaimonistic accounts, beginning with Aristotle was that happiness must be measured objectively. "according to Aristotle, it is empirically true that the flourishing of human beings consists of the realization of intellectual and moral virtues and in the fulfillment of their other specifically human physical and mental capabilities." "Aristotle's is an explicitly moral notion, not conceptually, but empirically: it is, impossible to achieve without being morally good—without actualizing the moral virtues" positive psychology takes the position that happiness must be plural and combine these three approaches (the balanced view described by Haidt, 2006). (Kristjansson, 2010, p. 300).
"Unfortunately, humanistic psychology did not attract much of a cumulative empirical base, and it spawned myriad therapeutic self–help movements. In some of its incarnations, it emphasized the self and encouraged a self–centeredness that played down concerns for collective well–being. Further debate will determine whether this came about because Maslow and Rogers were ahead of the times, because these flaws were inherent in their original vision, or because of overly enthusiastic followers. However, one legacy of the humanism of the 1960s is prominently displayed in any large bookstore: The ''psychology'' section contains at least 10 shelves on crystal healing, aromatherapy, and reaching the inner child for every shelf of books that tries to uphold some scholarly standard" (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000, p. 7).
There I go again, switching tense, confusing fact and fiction, complicating point of view. I shut my eyes, compelling myself to hunt for the perfect adjective for that quirky character in a short story. I grapple for a compelling theme to launch a personal essay. I long to spin one complete sentence for my memoir, a single uninterrupted thread from its initial cap to a period at its conclusion.