Monday, September 24, 2007

Authentic Happiness

Senia, of, suggested in a comment on my last post that I look at Authentic Happiness, a website by Martin Seligman, of positive psychology fame. There are many self-tests on there.

I'm as much a nut for these tests as anyone else, so I took four of them. The first one is a test for authentic happiness. I scored somewhere in the middle of my age group on that one, which I assume means I am neither happier nor sadder than the average in my group.

I did not like all of the questions, frankly. Even though I realize they come from studies of those who can be termed inordinately happy, still I had difficulty seeing happiness through the lens of so-called "success" or, for that matter, "spirituality" and "purpose in life". For many those may seem like key areas of happiness but for me they are not.

Although I guess I could niggle a little on that "purpose in life". I have a purpose I have defined for myself. I do not see it as something given to me from on high or expected from me by others. And it is true that whether or not I fulfill that purpose does relate to how happy I feel.

The test on my strengths shows me as having many strengths and not many "weaknesses". None were a surprise to me but it was nice to see them laid out like that. It was affirming, you might say.

I expect I will return to that site again, because of its clear focus on being happy. I am sure Gretchen has already been there and back again, and I might look up in her blog to see if she mentions it specifically. It looks like a good place to sort some things out and it may help with my commandments development.

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