How to manage our unlimited opportunities for feeling hopeless?
Expressions of hopelessness are everywhere. On a rainy, gloomy day the intended throw-away social comment, “Are we ever going to see the sun again,” literally describes how some feel about their lives.
Their reigning personal philosophy seems to be that life is one problem or setback after another until you die. Literal Charlie Browns, their sky is going to fall and it’s going to rain, no matter what.
For others, senses of personal hopelessness resemble seasonal cycles. They’re distracted by the weather during hot, muggy summers and freezing, uncomfortable winters. In moderate, mellow falls and rejuvenating, blooming springtimes they feel upbeat and in control.
Along with being rollercoaster-like, seasonal senses of emotional stability are tempered by exotic events such as hurricanes and tornados. And they’re affected by chronically unresolved and worsening social and political issues like partisan gridlock in Congress.
Effects from international events like the ISIS conflicts aren’t limited to the Middle East, London and Paris. They’re unnerving us, too. And we’re unsettled with anxieties over the short-, medium- and long-term effects of President Donald Trump’s antics in office.
Besides writing or calling the president and congressional and state legislators, there’s nothing any of us ordinary people can do to fix any of the external problems that threaten our internal senses of equilibrium.
I protect myself from being overwhelmed by disturbing external stimuli. I get an inkling of world happenings by watching the PBS News Hour. And I read my hometown newspapers. But I pay no attention to breaking news alerts on the computer. In due time, I figure, I’ll find out about important matters.
Natural physiologic processes associated with life’s stages, like puberty and aging, provide unique internal destabilizing challenges. And finally, the social and psychological associations we make with one another on our journey through life provide opportunities for the full range of emotions from elation to hopelessness.
There’s lots to be distracted by and feel hopeless and powerless about. How to manage the range of feelings?
Long time readers may recall I’ve written a number of articles about my granddaughter, Amalia. She turned 18 this week, is graduating from high school and will be attending MaGill University in Montreal, Canada, this fall. I wrote her a love letter for the occasion.
I told her that, after living 84 years of uncertain life and surviving innumerable episodes of hopelessness feelings, I’ve learned that love and kindness are the only two things that really matter in life. And I told her that, along with shelter, food and water, spiritual companionship and laughter are life’s only necessities.
The rest is fluff.