Positive Relationships is the ‘R’ in PERMA well-being theory. Thus far in the course, we have concentrated mainly on the individual in the sense that our focus has been on emotions and our ability to engage in activities whether alone or in groups. Our ability to engage in activities with other is extremely important from an individual point of view but this says little or nothing about our relationships with others. Our sense of self and our experience of being a person in the world is often very individualistic. Yet none of this would exist without our connections to other.
Relationships start with the relational self and our capacity to relate to others positively. It’s impossible to separate our happiness as an individual from our relationships with other. In this course, the discussion begins to move from the individual to the relational with a look at what it means to have a sense of self. The course outline lists two potential theories of self and as way into discussing personality or individual character on the one hand and some of the theories about the self in the world. I decided to change this class slightly from that listed. Rather than focusing on only two theories I thought it would be an idea to start off with small group discussions about the sense of self and then have a the ideas up on the board that come out of the discussions. I will use the ideas to point to where these ideas come from in theories about self and identity. In this way, everyone can reflect on how they think about the individual and where that fits into the theories of development, of which there are many.
In addition to thinking about the individual self this discussion will also bring out the ways in which the self is embedded in relationships.