“Crows fly in sweeping circular arcs across the apron of the sky, using all the available space from horizon to horizon before settling on the top swaying branch of the tallest tree…. A crow is mighty in its passion, voracious in its appetite, and fearless in its flight. So I aspire to live as the crow flies and stretch my soul to meet the sky.”
For many years, as a psychologist and personally, I was focused on overcoming—overcoming challenges, trials, struggles, loss. I was focused on getting better. But, during one of my darkest times, I suddenly saw the light: I didn’t want to just be better; I wanted to be better than better. And I wanted to help my clients do the same. That’s when I came upon Positive Psychology, and the concept of flourishing.
Flourishing: What Is It?
I love that word—flourishing. When I hear “flourishing,” my mind is swept to a garden with trees, tall and shady as the afternoon, flowers, dressed and dancing in radiant colors, leaves and bushes, green as summer, and that little something extra (is it a wink?) that tells you the best is yet to come. That is flourishing—“to grow luxuriantly,” to “thrive,” “to prosper” (Merriam-Webster online).
The Positive Psychology of Flourishing & YOU
Wouldn’t you love to be flourishing? Well, you can. We all have the power to grow “luxuriantly,” to surpass our own expectations of what life has to offer, to find that wink within ourselves. The field of Positive Psychology helps us do just that. A newer branch of psychology, Positive Psychology aims to do more than simply treat mental illness; it aims to “find and nurture genius and talent” and “to make normal life more fulfilling.”[i] Flourishing is an area of positive psychology that seeks to help us live according to our highest potential, to create a life of “goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience.”[ii]
Flourishing: Am I Doing It?
But, how do you know if you are flourishing or not? Well, a good start is to ask yourself the following four questions that positive psychologists use to measure flourishing. So, stop whatever you’re doing right now, sit down, get still, and listen to the answers that come. Use a journal to write your answers, and revisit these questions as often as needed.
1) How much positive emotion am I creating and receiving in my life?
2) How much meaning & purpose do I experience on a daily basis?
3) How good are my relationships with others?
4) How much mastery, confidence, competence & achievement do I enjoy in life?
Let Yourself Flourish
The point is that we can all be better than just better. We all have the power to create a life that flourishes. As we plant and nurture positive emotions like patience, gratitude, cheerfulness, joy, and love; as we cultivate meaning and purpose in all that we do; as we grow in our ability to accept, love, and delight in others; and as we listen to the whispers, tend to, and proliferate the gifts we are given, we find that we not only grow—we thrive.
Let yourself flourish. “Fly as the crow flies,” in “sweeping…arcs across the sky.” Never settle, unless it’s on “the branch of the tallest tree”. Be “mighty in…passion” and “fearless in [your] flight.” “Stretch [your] soul to meet the sky.” Grow. Luxuriantly.
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow–
available now on Amazon.com!
Are you flourishing? Do you believe it’s possible for you? What stands in your way? Leave a comment, below!
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[ii] Fredrickson & Losada. (2005). Positive Affect & The Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing. American Psychologist.