What Does It All Mean?
The First of the Year. Time to get a new calendar at the very least. I know I’m excited about this year. But maybe you’re reading this and wondering “what is there to be hopeful for in 2022?”
Whether or not you’re looking forward to this year might depend on how you made sense of last year. Without dissecting all of the potentially polarizing events of 2021, I think we can all agree that things haven’t seemed “normal” for a while. Not to forget the sweeping impact COVID-19 has had on our lives, but we’re all still dealing with our own individual “stuff” too.
That “stuff” can be good stuff. Like, I remember when I graduated college, the first in my family. I was like – is this it? I mean yeah, I was excited to start a new career. But it felt a little anticlimactic to be honest. Or maybe for some of us, that stuff comes with heartbreak. Some time ago we had to put down our two beautiful Rotties within a 12-month span.
If we’ve lost something or someone, how we make sense of that can have a huge impact on our mental health. I legit bawled my eyes out when I realized my dogs weren’t going to be at the door waiting to greet me with slobbery kisses. Stuff like that can make us believe things we never did before, like “the world is a dangerous place” or “I’m a failure, no matter what I do”.
Without getting too philosophical or “sciencey” the meaning we attribute to things is subjective. What an event means to you might not mean the same to me. For some, the New Year could mean a chance to start over, but for another it could be a reminder of past failures. It all depends on the meaning we ascribe to things and events.
What happened to you last year? Do you think about it from time to time? Are you saddened by it? Enraged maybe?
Even though we may not be aware of what we’re doing when we lose someone or something, we often employ meaning-making as a way to resolve our grief. Of course, loss comes in all kinds of frightening shapes and terrible sizes. If you’ve lost a job, that loss can be difficult to reconcile. Our work can embody so much of our identities. Whenever the loss is so utterly shocking, so completely unbelievable we need help with making sense of it. Much of the time we’re able to manage this all on our own with the help of family and friends. But if you’re having a hard time with your day to day stuff, maybe not sleeping or eating well, or just not feeling yourself lately, it might be time to consider talking to your primary care physician or a therapist.
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Anger. It affects us all whether we like it or not and sometimes whether we notice it or not. None of us are immune to anger, though we all may choose to handle our anger differently and sometimes we might be lost on how to handle our anger and wonder what we could possibly do to help ourselves.