As a psychotherapist, I have the privilege of joining with people for a part of their journey of creating a life. In the current global economic climate, many of the people I meet with are experiencing serious financial losses and the resulting anxiety about the future. In fact, some of our worries have somehow become real problems instead of irrational fears.
We have, as a nation, faced serious challenges recently which have forced us to rethink our priorities. Listening to the stories of the people trapped in the towers during nine eleven was one example. The stories told of the many many people who called the people they loved just to tell them one more time how much they loved them.
Again we find ourselves challenged to rethink how we are living our lives and how we are expending our energies. The economic bubble of the 1990’s was in certain ways intoxicating. It became possible to imagine ever larger goals, especially in the material sense. We could have bigger houses, better cars, and more toys and vacations. It began to seem like we deserve to have whatever we want.
As the stresses of the deflation of that bubble percolate downward through the structures of our world, we are faced with genuine losses. Sometimes unmanageable losses, such as homes or education. As I listen to people struggling with the changes in their lives and the choices they are forced to make, I am struck once again by the fundamental decency of human nature. Each time there is a protest: “I shouldn’t have to deal with this!” There is a bargaining: “Maybe I can somehow prevent myself from experiencing this loss.” There is defeat: “I give up. I’m just a failure.” But after all, there is a kind of gratitude: “Well, we have each other.” It is almost as if we needed a reminder of that important gift.