Relationship Building using Positive Psychology: A Workshop

The Relationship Building using Positive Psychology workshop was one of the several events organised by the Psychology Department, as a part of the Positive Psychology Symposium – “From Stumbling Steps to Confident Leaps: Harnessing the Power of Positive Psychology”. This was conducted by Dr. Madhulika Bajpai, Associate Professor, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences, Delhi University.

Although it was met by technical glitches, the Psychology Union handled it efficiently to get the event going in full swing. In the meantime began the first exercise of the workshop – writing two truths and one lie about oneself. The activity was fun and people enjoyed it to their fullest. The positive start set everyone at their comfort zones. She then went on to explain the PERMA theory, by Seligman, consisting of Positive emotions (P), Engagement (E), Relationships (R), Meaning (M) and Accomplishments (A).

Things, however, started spiralling downhill as soon as she got to her first example. Her statement that it is only women who have expectations regarding their partners sparked off much debate among the people. She, however, refused to accommodate the views of the audience and went ahead with her ‘endeavour’. She went on to say how it is the girls who are always expected to do the housework and adjust in ‘India’ completely forgetting the fact that the sample of her 7-year old study consisted of 30-40 Delhiites, mostly representing North India. When told about the different scenario in the North East, she called it different from India (as if it was a foreign country), further leading to dissent. She also voiced out how the LSR population was different and separate from these “issues” – as if we were aliens in this harsh world. Her presentation might have been apt for school students, but for people who were 18-22 years old, it failed to impress. Her last example about “kadwa chowth” (she made it sound like ALL girls do it ‘willingly’) silenced the most of the audience, not because it was a class apart, but because the aggrieved people realised how futile it was to put forward their views that would eventually go down the drain. The funniest part of it was the equation of happiness that was presented, where happiness equalled reality ÷ expectations. Although it was aimed at telling us to have no expectations to make relationships work, the equation was flawed. If expectations were supposed to be 0, then it is a common knowledge that anything divided by 0 is undefined. So, in this equation, it would mean that happiness would cease to exist if expectations were 0.

All the negatives set aside, it did appeal to some of the students, and rightly so. Her depiction of malice as a burning candle kept on a palm was very apt – If held for too long, it burns you, and no one else. To add to that, she had an amazing idea for the construct of forgiveness, which was by writing forgiveness letter.

The workshop was, then, followed by some excellent events, which would not have been possible without the hard work of our able Union. And the happiness of the Positive Psychology Symposium continued all day long!

Reported By – Mitakshara Medhi

Photo Credits – Parul Rajwanshi

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