Everything that happens to us in life can be viewed from two distinct perspectives: the fact—and the way we view the fact. If you lost your job, then that is a fact. Comes Monday morning, you have nowhere to go, the steady paycheck has stopped, the future is posing lots of questions but offering few answers, and the pressure mounts. So, all of those are facts. But one can also analyze those facts and come up with a wide variety of points of view about them. For example, it’s possible that the person hated his job and a new job could provide hope and better opportunities. It’s also possible that a new job would open avenues for more income, a new community, and several other enrichments.
At times, when significant life events occur such as the arrival of a new baby, the death of a dear one, relocation to a new country, or the loss of a job, they all have one thing in common: the several progressive stages one goes through in experiencing them. A graph that depicted such events would look like an inverted bell curve. Typically, the beginning and ending are at more or less the same level, which proves that the human mind is able to deal with significant life events and shocks and reach emotional equilibrium if given some time.
Once the event happens, the brain struggles to deal with it logically but at the same time vacillates, winding up in an emotional manifestation. Usually, the person is utterly shocked initially, begins to feel totally numb, and then attempts to deny the event. This is followed by fear because of the many possible negative ramifications caused by the situation. Given a little more time, anger, blame, and frustration surface. For instance, if you were terminated from your job, you might develop negative feelings toward your past supervisor and the company. You may feel anxiety, frustration, irritability, embarrassment, and shame. Not that those are warranted, but the body needs to find ways to protect itself.
At this point some people begin feeling overwhelmed, experience lack of energy, and exhibit hypersensitivity. Life may seem chaotic and unbearable. Some may fall into depression and become unable to see the future. After this phase, some people feel the need to reach out to others. They feel the need to be heard and understood as they struggle to find meaning in what happened.
Given a little more time, the brain attempts to forget the bad and remember only the good. By accepting the facts of the past, the brain starts replacing the strong negative feelings with better memories. Hope begins to emerge. And a rush of energy may take over. Anxiety may still be there, but now it’s a bit different. It’s a positive kind of anxiety. And it leads to enthusiasm and a new beginning. At this point, the person may feel empowered and more secure; the original high level of self-esteem returns; and life has meaning again.
Does this remind you of something? Please comment.
by Alex Freund