Who can say why 2016 was so difficult for so many people. How is it possible that 2016 became a global phenomenon for being a bad year around the world. Social media seemed to promote and support this idea, as the 2016 despair filled Facebook and the like. I don’t really understand what this was all about in any great detail, but I would like to think about the idea in terms of how it influences people’s entry into the new year.
Although our futures are essentially unpredictable, we can know to some extent where we are headed. Perhaps you have a precise plan in place which you apply creatively and constructively to your daily life. Perhaps you find that planning ahead has never truly worked for you, and your approach to living is more fundamentally influenced by your impulses, your faith in yourself from moment to moment, and your sense of your intuition as being a strong and sound guide. Perhaps you feel that you’re living our a relatively destructive life story, and that, for reasons which you can’t quite understand, you’re sabotaging your future, and moving down a path that you don’t feel you’re really choosing, but are instead feeling uncontrollably compelled by. Whatever your sense of your own personal mastery, you are probably to a lesser or greater degree aware of the possibility that external reality can disrupt our progress at any moment in time. It seems to me that external reality can be quite unforgiving, and that it can come at us like a relentless onslaught. Whether you feel alone in the world, or feel that you are blessed with the love and support of a partner, friends and family, you, like me, face an external reality that is beyond our capacity to control. The best that we can hope for is that we will find it in ourselves to adapt to the new circumstances. For many people 2016 was a period of massive adjustment. Whether we are facing a period of economic crisis, adjustment to a tumultuous political climate, facing a hazardous academic road ahead, or adjusting to the impacts of global crisis on our daily life, we are exposed to the elements of external reality in countless ways. The call to adapt is there, and I believe that it is through opportunities to adapt to the challenges with which are confronted that provide us with experiences that contribute to our feelings of personal mastery. Although we should never expect of ourselves that we have the strength to adapt successfully to every attack of external reality, either because we are depressed, frightened, alone, physically ill, or overloaded with pressures which we have chosen, it is important that we treat ourselves with kindness, and that we spend enough time reassuring ourselves that we can manage difficult situations. My own therapist often refers to the idea of holding myself, embracing myself and talking to myself when I am feeling lost, alone or frightened. Although we cannot know whether or not we will succeed in managing crisis, we can at least express faith in ourselves. Brace yourselves. Hold yourself steady, and tell yourself that no matter what comes, and even if things get worse, which they may, you will get through this.