Much has changed over the past very few years, and our assumptions about the future have become uncertain at best. We are forced to reorganize our thinking and our planning to take into account a different global and local economic and political system. It is easy in this new reality for fear to take root, and our thinking to become narrow. Each day we are faced with new stories about the problems we are facing.
At this point, it is not simply a matter of spin, or thinking positively. We have a lot of work to do. We cannot act on the assumed future we expected. We know in a more global kind of way that the choices we make will greatly affect the outcomes, and we do not always know how to sort out those choices. So much of what we experience in our lives is multi-determined, nuanced, and inter-related. Each factor affects each other factor, and the implications of turning one way or another can begin to seem like a maze of mirrors.
Psychotherapy is not a magic wand. It is not a reliable clairvoyance meter. By talking about our lives and the complex constellations of meanings they entail, we do not guarantee that we will always do the right thing or choose the most successful course. What we do know is that we will have taken the time to be reflective about the many directions we can take. We know that we are keeping a watchful eye on those internal arguments that turn us around and prevent us from making clear headed decisions. We know that our choices will have been considered and cautious.
Fear is handy. It is a signal to be careful. It is a signal to conserve our resources and think deeply about our direction. Of course fear can immobilize us, it can prevent us from taking steps we need to take, and it can rob our lives of the joy that inheres in them. Ultimately, it stops us. We look around. What is important? Where is the reassurance that allows us to take the best care of ourselves and each other?
Ultimately we find it in the faces of the people we care about and who care about us. In our leaders, our colleagues, our friends, and our families. In this very material world, it is the relationships that have substance and the concrete goods that do not. We can make difficult decisions. We can absorb losses. We can give up desires. We just can’t do these things alone.