I want to begin with an apology. A few years ago I won this honor of posting some thoughts on this List. At the end, I stated that since I’d been a therapist for almost forty years I had seen and heard almost everything, and now, as I aged, I had all the answers. I told anyone and everyone to send me any questions about life, love or their psychological state, and I would answer them.
Within a week I had received almost six hundred questions. Some of them were kind of fun, but many of them were serious, involving family, relationships, money, education, and even depression and abuse.
I answered about fifty of them during the next six weeks and realized I was less than 10% there. For those of you, if your still on the List, who either got some brief letter or no response at all, I sincerely apologized.
No questions this time.
Part of the problem in responding is that life is complex, so to give any kind of helpful answer to people I don’t know took a lot of explaining - if this then this, but if not this, than that. And even that wouldn’t cover it.
So this time, I will give one answer that fits all and any questions.
If your life is difficult, as all lives are, some more than others, and you want to make a significant change, there are many things you need to consider. You have to realize that it will take a lot of planning and a lot of practice.
Probably 92% ( a number I just decided upon) of everything we do is determined by four major forces that are constantly interacting. The first is your genetics. That gives you some talents, and all of your characteristics. Genetics determine if you are tall, fat, good looking, or can run fast, can’t see well, or are dyslexic. These things will affect your life. It won’t totally rule it, but it will make a difference.
Then your genetic self will be shaped and molded by the family you live in. That family can take many shapes or forms, especially these days. It could be you live in the Clever family, or the Brady Bunch, or maybe just with your grandmother, but you will be given a very strong impression of how the world works, and what your place is in the world, by what happens with that group, in those early years.
Next, with those genes and the beliefs and behaviors you learned from your family, you will go out into the larger world. Your community will bounce behaviors and ideas off of you. Some you will accept, others you will pull away from, depending upon your genetics and your family.
But, look at this last U.S. election. Most people voted the way the others in their community voted. Peer pressure? Living in a bubble? Fear of rejection? A mind shaped by the local truth?
Yes to all of those.
Those are the three major forces that determine almost everything we think, feel and act. But, all of that can be altered if your health goes badly. If you get in an accident, or have a major illness, or absorb too many chemicals, or eat a terrible diet, you life will be changed. You will think and act differently.
These forces are affecting you all of your life. These forces resist change. They limit your options. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But we all have to realize who we are, where we are, and what’s going on. If you want to change the way you think, act and feel, you have to recognize the forces that made you the way you are. Then you have to find ways to build new habits and practice those behaviors. You have to be prepared for people to treat you differently, because you will be disrupting their lives too.
Or, hopefully, you can enjoy who you are, what you’ve become and whom you are with. Making small adjustments, like getting up earlier, can be easily accomplished.
Anyway. the solstice has just passed, and we will be getting our light back; more each day. That is worth celebrating!!
If you have any interest in reading my concerns about the future of our species, and there are many— you can follow me at the link below — (you can ask questions there).