This realization ushered in a more global discussion of what positive psychology is actually about. With all the hype it is receiving lately and the fact that it is being embraced on a worldwide level it has also caused some opponents to misperceive it as Pollyanna-ish: A type of misplaced enthusiasm that ignores the struggles of life. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Understanding the mechanisms that prompt resilience and such things as post-traumatic growth are woven into the understanding that a positive perspective is often evolved from a negative experience. The struggle is in understanding that the negative isn’t the final perception. There are other ways of perceiving and understanding the problems that allow for a true shift in perception.
What was interesting about this was to learn that the opponents saying we were Pollyanna-ish actually didn’t know the story of Pollyanna. She, as we learned, was not at all like the popular myth of the story. We read and came to understand she was often overwhelmed by sadness and grief, and what she actually displayed was a coping strategy, the glad game, to help her shift her perception and focus. She didn’t deny her reality, but rather demonstrated resilience in finding productive ways to cope.