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Let There Be Light (Triad)

I think we've all had enough bad news. What about the light side of human nature?

The holidays are in full swing, and the new year is right around the corner. With twinkling lights everywhere, Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé on repeat, and those comforting winter scents, we should be in high spirits, right? Yet this year feels different – heavier, a little more tired, a little less joyful. On the tail end of two challenging years, during which many difficult truths have come to light, it’s completely valid to be feeling a bit jaded right now.

Lately, our culture seems dominated by psychopaths and narcissists. Every day, we hear new stories about “Dark Tetrad” individuals and the substantial harm they cause (these individuals fall under the psychological foursome of psychopathy, narcissism, sadism, and Machiavellianism). I think we’ve all had enough bad news. What about the light side of human nature?


Everyday Saints

Selfish, manipulative people certainly exist, but what about everyday saints? I’m not talking about the person who publicly gives to others to gain personal success. I’m talking about the person who, just by their being, shines their light in all directions, the person who isn’t premeditated and strategic about their giving but naturally exudes unconditional love because that’s just who they are. These people DO exist! In fact, researchers have recently defined the “light triad” of personality – the three traits of a pro-social person who is good for humanity. Those traits are:

Faith in Humanity:
Believing that humans are generally good.
Humanism:
Valuing the dignity and worth of each individual.
Kantianism:
Treating others as a means unto themselves and not as pawns to use for one’s own benefit.

Encouraging News

Many character strengths correlate with the light triad, including curiosity, perspective, zest, love, kindness, teamwork, forgiveness, and gratitude. Light triad people are motivated by pro-social values; they are committed to their personal growth and resilient in the face of adversity. Naming these traits gives us a much-needed focus on our light side when the world seems scary, unpredictable, and downright dark. Also, research indicates that the average person leans more toward light than dark in their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Why don’t we hear more about these people on our nightly news?

It gets even better; light triad individuals lead rich and rewarding lives. Since they trust and value others, they are empathetic and loyal, so they enjoy rich connections. Since they are disciplined and open to learning, they have greater satisfaction in their work lives.

It gets even better; light triad individuals lead rich and rewarding lives. Since they trust and value others, they are empathetic and loyal, so they enjoy rich connections. Since they are disciplined and open to learning, they have greater satisfaction in their work lives.


Am I Light Triad or Dark Tetrad?

TAKE THE ASSESSMENT


Yes, everyday psychopaths exist – but so do everyday saints. And they are just as worthy of attention and cultivation in a society that sometimes forgets that there is goodness in the world. And there is also goodness in each of us.

So, during this holiday season, if you feel stressed or annoyed, take a breath and say to yourself:
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.

Wishing Happy Holidays to you and yours!!!

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