Let's talk about the world today and what it's like being alive in this very different time. We have been living in a pandemic for over two years, and well over a million people in the United States have died along with millions more in other countries.
Now there is a war going on in Europe. Everyone is affected by this, some to a greater degree than others, but we are all dealing with the fallout. Gas and food prices alone are bleeding our wallets dry, and if you have to buy a car or a house right now, good luck. Words like inflation and recession are scary to most of us because we have no control over the economy. And let's not forget that we are being gouged by those who have the power, which makes everyone a little testier.
Then there is The Great Divide that has split our country in two, and I don't see how this can get mended, ever. Seriously, we are in a world of hurt right now. Life is harder than ever, and people are being nastier to one another. This is not how to get through difficulty, folks. This should be a time to pull together, but it seems most people are just pulling for themselves, and I find that very sad.
All this takes a toll on our emotional well-being. More people are using more alcohol, cannabis and other drugs to "take the edge off," but that only works for a couple of hours, if at all. You wake up the next day feeling awful or, worse, you become addicted. Altering your consciousness is not the answer, but neither is ignoring the problems.
Understanding what is going on around us and creating a safe place for our loved ones is what should be primary. The future looks a bit bleak, and college kids are wondering if they will ever be able to make a life for themselves. The world has changed and not for the better; we are all struggling with a lot of issues. That's the reality, and ignoring it won't help anyone.
If you are in emotional pain about the state of the world, first remember that you are not alone. You need to find ways to help yourself deal with it. That means seeking some assistance to help with your inner pain and doing what you can to make things better. Most of this is out of our control, but we can make it a little easier if we are kinder to those around us and ourselves.
I can't say enough about the value of giving your emotional support to the people you care for. Unless you are totally selfish or void of feeling, the state of our world is causing you some difficulty. Owning that pain is the beginning to ending it, because you can't fix the whole world, but you can fix your world. The only way to fail at that is by not trying.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.")