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A Positive Psychology Look at Tweens and The Seven Gateways to Happiness

Posted May 22 2009 11:58pm

I thought I would share with you some of my discussion with Martha Trowbridge, my co-host on my radio show. Happiness for Women Only!, which aired on February 21, 2008 at 2:00 EST.  You can download and listen to this show and many of my previous shows by going to www.internetvoicesradio.com   and clicking on Happiness for Women Only!

This last show began a new series of radio programs which focusing on kids, tweens and teens.  In this first show, we began to talk about my Seven Gateways to Happiness, from a new perspective.  Rather than looking at women, in this show we are looking at tweens and how they engage with and hold on to states of well-being, known in everyday language, as states of happiness.  So come with Martha and myself now and 'listen' into our discussion about the first Gateway to Happiness for Tweens.

Barbara-"So the first Gateway of Happiness, and this pretty much corresponds to the adult first Gateway of Happiness, is recognizing your talents, your strengths, and holding close to your heart your potential.   For adult women, I would say remembering your potential, but with a girl of 8, it’s really just holding onto it, just even acknowledging it.   There’s nothing new to remember; she knows it.

Martha:              How does she know her potential, Barbara?

BBH:                 Well, now, that’s a very good question.   Mostly through the sense of -- the inner sense of integration when she’s doing something that we call, typically, for adults, something like a state of bliss.   You know, she may or may not know it from the outside.   She may know that she’s a great pianist for an 8 year old because a thousand people have told her.

MT:                    So competency is part of that recognition, would you say?

BBH:                 Competency may be part of recognizing your potential, or may not.   For example, a girl may love, absolutely love to look at home decorating magazines and imagine how to be a decorator.   We don’t know if she has any real competency in that area, but she has a potential.   The love of color, a sense of design that may or may not lead to being able to make an income, but there is self potential there.

MT:                    And a passion.

BBH:                 Right.   So whether it is recognized by the outer world or not, she’s going to have a passionate feeling of glee, of being, you know, she doesn’t know the time has passed, all the things that we talk about when an adult is having a precious moment, what I call an Enchanted Self ® moment, and is often referred to as a state of bliss.

                         Now... if you’re from a functional family, this is great, because people have probably acknowledged and given you some hope and feedback that’s positive about whatever seems to be your interests and your potential.

MT:                    And supported you in whatever way in terms of helping you connect with groups or classes, or internet access, or whatever that will --

BBH:                 Right.   Maybe.   Although functional families can be so busy that they can’t do that for every kid in every way.   But probably something’s happened that’s good.

                         In a dysfunctional family, it can be much harder than even for an adult woman trying to find her potential, because the kid is so impressionable.

MT:                    Right.

BBH:                 So that’s Gateway One."

What do you think about this Gateway!  Do you have a tween?  Can you relate to my comments? 

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, www.enchantedself.com  

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