And so it begins. I have finally decided to study counselling – returning to psychology after over 10 years of doing other things. I feel excited and happy but mainly at peace. I know this is the right path.I spent about a week researching local bookshops, second-hand book shops and online for developments in psychology since I left it. I have studied a lot of it but missed out on most of the positive psychology. Susan Cain’s ‘The Quiet’ allowed me to catch up a few years ago when I read it – with at least American developments. But counselling has such large social work, voluntary, the practical context that I feel I have a lot to learn. As for the main skill – listening – I think I like to listen to people and I have stopped talking so much! I do not like to talk about myself because my daily morning coffee meditation/thinking time allows me to function without having to share too much with others. I talk to myself, in my head. And if I get stuck I discuss details with my friend and family. But I do feel that I have shifted from my endlessly open, vulnerable self to a closed one, distanced one, more resilient one. I think I know how much I can suffer when I allow myself to open up and what benefits that vulnerability carries. I learned to switch the openness on and off. But I also want to live at peace, with a little bit less emotion, and more time to develop intellectually. Or maybe I was hurt too much? Or maybe both? Or maybe I just want to test this new approach to life to then ‘come back to the middle’, more balanced approach later on in life. I feel positive about this new journey though. Not ecstatic-happy but contempt and curious.
According to positive psychology course with Dr Barbara L. Fredrickson, we have more than the feeling of pure happiness to cherish. Here are the top ten positive emotions we have – many of which I genuinely did not consider as positive emotions crucial to my wellbeing! I understand now how I managed to come out of my own depression without much direct help – I have a huge contingency of joy, awe, inspiration, hope and interest, not to mention gratitude. And I think that on the spectrum of my emotional goals I shifted from striving for joy and amusement to serenity more. SERENITY is my goal and when I lose it I am not happy.