When I listened to the first lecture in ‘perspectives on wellbeing’ course while doing my masters in Positive Psychology, my first thought was “I know this staff, it is so similar to my work, the Expansion Method’. Later, when I read again the book “A guide to Bliss” that is describing the expansion method, I was remined that it was thus defined by its developer Shai Tubali – as an enlightened psychology rather a ‘problem-based’ psychology. Seeing the human not just as a broken machine that needs to be fixed but rather as a spiritual being capable of flourishing and going beyond just “being ok” or simply “functional”, is what positive psychology is all about and so it the Expansion.
As a positive psychologist and as a mentor working with the Expansion method, I always put a lot of emphasize on cultivating our natural talents, skills and abilities. We can leg behind in some dimensions of life but it doesn’t mean we cannot blossom and thrive in others. Research shows we can even suffer from some depression while thriving as parents or in our careers or as partners. It is therefore very important to emphasize the positive aspects of our experience and being because this positivity is a springboard toward a far greater happiness.
Some people I meet at my mentoring work claim they find it hard to access emotions like joy or happiness and some say they fear feeling good and happy because always something takes them down and then their feeling of being ‘down’ is worse, so it is better not to feel happy. So, they adopt a certain attitude towards life, a certain ‘life’s philosophy’ that keeps them safe but doesn’t allow them to ever feel amazing.
We are all afraid of getting hurt, it is imprinted in our mammal brain. We devote so much of our energy and time to making sure we stay safe and unharmed. But as we lay the safety nets around, we fail to notice we are moving further away from feeling deep and genuine joy and satisfaction. In my work I help people find the middle path – one that allows them to feel safe as the result of connecting to their power and resilience and encourages and pushes them towards being deeply positive, trusting and happy.
So, one thing I have learnt is that being happy is not only a legitimate goal but actually an essential one if we want to flourish and thrive. Each one of us might interpret happiness in a unique way but the definitions of happiness are less important. I found that what matters is the understanding that happiness is an infinite phenomenon and there is never an end to it. So, dare to be happy, claim your birth-right and walk with a smile in the world. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to show others you are happy or at least investing in your positivity and happiness. This is the secret of the Expansion – there is never an end to bliss and there is never an end to flourishing.