So often at this time of year, people tend to think about the regrets and losses they’ve had over the past twelve months: Regrets about what they did or didn’t do at all, enough of, or not quite right or good enough; and losses about who has left their lives through death or conflict and/or the opportunities or experiences that are over or unavailable to them now. As a result, many people feel depressed, unhappy, frustrated, angry and/or anxious. Certainly, this is not the best way to start a happy and fulfilling new year and can become a vicious cycle in which people can be unmotivated and overwhelmed about how to change things for the new year.
I often work with my clients to look at the “other side of the coin” regarding how their lives have been over the past year. In therapy terms, this is called “reframing” in which a person looks at a situation from a different angle than he/she originally did to gain perspective and to see their whole situation more accurately, positively, yet realistically as well. For instance, if you are feeling stuck and upset being in a job that you had hoped to replace with a more satisfying one this year, don’t forget or underestimate the “positiveness” of being in a job that at least is tolerable and provides job security and a decent paycheck. Or if you haven’t found the “right” significant other over this past year, at least recognize that you also haven’t settled for the “wrong” person. In essence, it is critical to remember and appreciate all the good things in your life and what you have actually gained this year (i.e., getting out of a dead-end job even if you had to start at the ground floor in a career you’ve decided you really want to be in; cutting loose a friend who really wasn’t a friend which allows you to have more room for those who truly care about you, etc.).
I know that seeing things as positive when they seem so negative and like losses and regrets is easier said than done and can feel artificial and fake. But, you can learn how to break your pattern of what you think and feel regarding how you see the world around you.
To help you learn to see things more objectively and accurately so that you can appreciate what you’ve got rather than what you don’t, seek professional counseling if needed. For further assistance, feel free to leave a message with my answering service at (310) 359-9450.