November 30th, 2008 · collective consciousness, Current Affairs, depth psychology, Georgetown, Halton Region, Individuation, Jungian psychology, life passages, Lifestyle, Meaning, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, panic, Peel Region, popular culture, Psychotherapy, The Self, Wellness, wholeness
The present economic conditions are deeply challenging to the ways that we all think about ourselves and our lives. It takes a toll on all of us to be constantly bombarded with negative economic news that often seems only to get worse with each passing day.
It's evident to me from my practice how much anxiety is being created in each of us, and what a heavy burden a lot of people are having to carry in the present situation. At the tail end of last week, there were numerous people who came through my office who were profoundly anxious and deeply scared at the things that they were seeing in their personal and working lives as we undergo the current economic crisis.
How can we avoid being crippled by the anxiety and the fear? There are a number of things to keep in focus.
First, the economic conditions that we are confronting are governed by the psychology of the crowd. Modern communication technology only enhances and deepens this effect. Crowd psychology is prone to irrational excitements and manias when things are good, and is equally prone to mass panics when they are bad. In the short run, it can likely be expected that panic will actually worsen economic conditions, and we have to be prepared to weather that.
Second, we must fully expect that this mass panic is going to "hook" and activate all of our deepest fears. Money is a very emotional matter for the vast majority of human beings. It symbolizes our life-energy, which we have put into our work, through our sweat and sacrifice. We can expect that, when we receive the kind of ominous news that has been about, we are going to initially respond with fear and anxiety — maybe even with terror.
Third, it is important to "hang onto ourselves" by not giving way to this fear and panic. On balance, weighing decisions carefully at this time, and realizing that we are being infected, so to speak, by the panic of the crowd, and taking action in a way that really is in line with our own true feelings and emotions will lead us to courses of action that will serve us better. Also, we need to hang on to the recognition that this crisis will not last forever.
Fourth, find your basic trust in life again, and act from that. This is the time to draw on your deepest philosophical and religious convictions. What do you really believe is important in life? Do you believe that life is a meaningful journey, which is unfolding in a way that makes your life and the lives of the people close to you valuable? If so, now is the time to put that belief in front of you, and to remind yourself of it constantly.