I know the New Year is about letting go of the old and embracing the new, but what if the old isn’t letting go of us?
There’s a war in Europe. Hundreds of people are still dying daily from COVID-19. And these are just a couple of the more entrenched problems in the world. On top of all this, everything is more expensive or harder to get, so if you are asking yourself, “How are we going to afford that?” you are not alone, but that’s not really going to make you feel any better.
What will make you feel better is to focus on the positive parts of life and look toward the future with hope in the face of uncertainty. You need to hold the hands of those you love and realize that love and connection are more important than your immediate worries.
Yes, I love my work too, but it doesn’t give me nearly the love that I get at home. A warm and welcoming personal life puts everything else in perspective and makes my outlook more realistic and balanced. It will be a few tough years ahead, but there was a similar financial crisis in 2008, and we got through that one OK.
What will make your life easier is to adopt some new attitudes. If you planned to travel the world post-COVID, and money is tight now, it may be necessary to postpone that journey. If you can’t find true happiness in the world you have created for yourself, then make some changes. It’s your life, and you will profit more by focusing on personal growth than on material wealth.
One of the things we need to be more aware of is our moods, because they have an impact on those we love as well as on our own health and happiness.
We have all noticed that people are angrier than they have ever been. Civility has gone out the window, and we need to bring it back. So why not make this a year of improving our inner emotions and outer behaviors rather than our bank accounts?
What you have is not as important as what you feel, and your feelings, good or bad, have a tremendous impact on your ability to manage your daily life and plan for your future. If you are depressed about the state of the world and your bank account, and it’s keeping you in bed all day, that is not going to help you.
Find that feeling of New Year’s hope, and embrace it. Use it as a springboard to help you let go of your fears and sadness, because feeling bad won’t make your world better. And if you don’t feel OK, act as if you do, and go through the motions. That will help those positive feelings take over, and you will feel better.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Saturdays and Mondays in the News-Press.