A gem in the rubble
28th January, 2009
Faced with an unfavourable current economic climate, we can feel depressed, scared and angry. The television, radio and newspapers certainly paint a gloomy picture of uncertainty, instability, loss and scarcity. When confronted with redundancy, loss of earnings and assets, rising fuel bills, an increased cost of living and investments that may/ will probably not come to fruition, it is understandable that we ask ourselves “Can I survive this?” and “What will become of me?”.
However, even when the world around us as we know it seems to be disappearing, even when we see our material security crumble away and even when we experience shortages, there is one thing that remains, something that will not be lost or taken away from us – and that is our relationship with self. This is the only real certainty in this uncertain world: you have you for as long as you are alive!
Sometimes, being reminded of this comes with a warm and glowing feeling inside, a connection with self that we sometimes lose sight of but regain. Often, however, knowing that can fill us with dread and gloom.
When we do not enjoy a good relationship with our self, we cannot experience satisfying relationships with others, we can feel empty, lost and isolated, we can experience emotional pain and we can find life difficult. When the world outside of us appears rich, exciting, luxurious, prosperous and plentiful, it is such a contrast to our inner world that we buy into it, we invest into it and soon we let the world outside of us nourish us and all appears well. If, in contrast, the world outside of us looks as unattractive, uncertain and full of fear as it is portrayed currently, then we feel deprived, depressed and vulnerable. It seems to me that, during challenging and difficult times, our relationship with our self is exposed, stripped of the layers of perceived protection that the outside world had provided for us up to now. This can leave us feeling powerless and unable to cope because we do not believe we have the resources within us to overcome our difficulties. It may seem like, without the outside world to provide for us, there is a short supply, a certain lack. I am suggesting here that what we are really short of, rather, is an acceptance of who we are and what we are feeling and that what we really miss is a deep and loving relationship with self. There is no denying that redundancy with its resulting loss of income and financial security can be a devastating experience with a major impact on our lives. Our response to it, however, can have an even bigger impact. If we have a negative perception of our self, then we will respond to a crisis in a way that matches how we see our self. If we have a positive view of who we are, then we will tend to feel more resilient and have a more resourceful and constructive response to a crisis.
Unlike the global economic crisis, which we have not got the power to change, we can change the way we relate with our self; indeed, our relationship to self is the only thing we have the power to change and make it what we want it to be. However much we maintain that our life would be ok as long the other people in it or the environment around us were to change, much as we want others to change and see things like we do, we cannot change them. We need to acknowledge that we are solely responsible for our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and although changing how we react and respond to situations and people requires courage - courage to face self, actually - it is empowering, enriching, long-lived and therefore much worth the effort. The result can be a transformed, more resilient and more self-sufficient you.
Understanding this can be the gem this current economic crisis has to offer us all. Maybe troubled times can present us with an invitation to look at our relationship with our self and at the way we have made ourselves feel secure in the past.
Counselling is an effective way to improve your relationship with you. As your counsellor, I can be alongside you as you make changes in your life, in awareness and with real choices and possibilities. I can help you identify and make sense of the blocks that prevent you from enjoying who you are. I can help you grow and fulfil your needs and desires so that you can enjoy deep and meaningful relationships, first with yourself then with others. Together, we can work on your relationship with yourself so that you can be happy, secure in the knowledge that you are nurturing something that cannot be lost or taken away from you for as long as you live, even when the world outside is troubled, turbulent and insecure.
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