This is something that has bothered me for a quite long time but a few recent situations have made me really worry. I recently met some old friends. As usual, we first inquired about each others’ present lives – health, job, kids, families, what other people we know are doing and so on. After a while the conversation naturally moved to old memories and funny situations from our youth. Everybody, of course, participated and enjoyed themselves. I did too, but … although I was definitely a part of many of these anecdotes, some I couldn’t recall at all. It is not that I couldn’t recall certain details – I could not remember anything at all! Some of these situations had been repeated over time (at least my friends said they had), but I wasn’t able to find them anywhere in my memory. Blank. Nothing! And in some of them I was not only involved, but I was the “leading actor”!
It’s September and that ‘back to school’ feeling is in the air. The light has changed and the plants are going to seed. Summer is over and with it has flown the feeling of lightness the bright and carefree August days bring.
But what is this ‘back to school’ feeling we all have at this time of year? Whether or not we are still tied to actual academic term times through work or children, it seems to be there. It may be ingrained in us from our own schooldays and the memories of new shoes and pristine pencil cases.
Yesterday morning, triggered by a bad night’s sleep and something that was going on outside (a sad and lonely dog in front of my building), I fell, out of the blue, into a quite depressive state. My old thoughts resurfaced: the amount of injustice and unhappiness everywhere is immeasurable, the only question is whether one wants to see it or not. I know, of course, that obsessing about it doesn’t take me anywhere, but sometimes I just don’t feel like protecting myself from it, because this is how things seem to be. Only, most people are usually too preoccupied with themselves to be bothered by such things.
Zelda had an argument with her husband, so she went upstairs to put it in her box. She closed the lid and put the box carefully back in its place at the bottom of the wardrobe. She went back downstairs. Her husband was sitting on the sofa scowling. Zelda started preparing the evening meal. With the argument safely put away she could ignore her husband’s mood. She chatted to him about what she was cooking, what had happened during her day. By the time dinner was ready and he came to the table to eat it, her husband had stopped scowling.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation over the years. What is it that gets me out of bed in the morning? How do I achieve the things I do? And why do I procrastinate so much? I put off my tax return until January 31st, I can’t be bothered to vacuum the stairs unless someone is coming to visit, and paperwork piles up on my desk until I have no choice but to spend a whole afternoon filing. These are tasks I find boring and will put off until the last minute.
Anxiety is everywhere. It seems we are in the middle of an anxiety epidemic. In the counselling room we see clients of all ages – right down to primary school children – reporting symptoms of anxiety, worry, stress.
We don’t know exactly why anxiety is so prevalent right now. Maybe anxious parents are passing it on to their children. Or maybe we are labelling and talking about it more so we are publicly recognising a condition that has always existed. Or perhaps there is actually a lot to be anxious about right now…
Sometimes it’s necessary to look at things differently. Step back for a moment and take a different perspective.
If we find we are stuck and cannot move forward, it may be because of a deep-seated belief about ourselves. For example you may think –
‘I always fail’;
‘I cannot do this on my own’;
‘I am un-lovable’.
Do you have low self-esteem? It is a condition we see frequently in the counselling room, even if it is not the presenting issue.
Having low self-esteem is often an underlying contributor to many other problems, like depression and anxiety, addiction or relationship issues. Or it can be caused by life events like being made redundant, bereavement or divorce. Whatever the reason for your low opinion of yourself, recognising it and becoming aware of the effect it has on your thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviour is the first step to changing.
Personal Synthesis is a handy ‘one-stop-shop’ that brings together all the areas that play a vital role in our everyday lives, from self-awareness to intimate relationships. The materials are the result of twenty years of research and have evolved through the experience of running numerous personal development programmes with the general public, young people and university students.
To learn more, please visit the Personal Synthesis materials that cover this and many other topics.