(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Dr T J Jordan
We aren’t listcycles. We really don’t abide by the 5 ways to…or the 8 secrets for…In fact, by the third Sunday after New Year’s Day, we have opted out of the resolutions we had very carefully crafted. So much for lists (unless you’re going grocery shopping and just know that you’re going to forget something unless you write it down.) You haven’t stuck with your weight loss program, your exercise routines, your decision to spend your money more wisely, and whatever other promises to which we enthusiastically but uselessly commit ourselves.
Our lives are journeys of ups and downs, frequently characterized by more downs than ups. Lists can’t take into account the vagaries of our life journeys. They can’t keep up and they are linear while we are dynamic, usually fighting all sorts of dragons attacking us at the same time. You know that saying, “Bad things come in threes?” What it’s really warning us is that the one problem we are fixated on at this moment is going to be joined by a number of others.
Remember that old book “Been Down So Long It Looks Like up For Me?” by Richard Farina? It’s time to look up regardless of whether or not you’re down now, because life guarantees that you will be down, deep down, at some points in your future. It happens to us all.
If not lists, then where do we turn for guidance when we’re mired in a life that sucks? Even if we try to trick ourselves into thinking, “Well it isn’t all that bad…..” Let’s face it. The ugly reality is that at least a large part of it sucks much of the time.
One technique sometimes used in couples therapy is to give each partner a separate piece of paper. We ask each member of the couple to write on that paper approximately what amount of 100 they feel good about their relationship. We breathe a sigh of relief when we take back the papers and see at least 50/50. At that point, hope remains. If even one of the people indicates way less than 50 (I have seen many 20’s and less), we tend to think that this relationship is already on the rocks.
We can begin by doing much the same exercise with our lives. With which proportion are we generally HAPPY, while the other proportion shows us that the rest is unhappy, dissatisfied, not what…