“So many people feel lost.” I read that comment recently and it’s stuck with me like a nagging thorn in my shoe.
Why? Perhaps it so succinctly expressed my perception. I have a haunting sense that many people—young and not-so-young—are feeling uncomfortably lost.
Each time period has its own flavour, I suppose. I’m no history buff, but my understanding is that the western world experienced a burst of prosperity after WWII. The basic needs that Dr. William Glasser speaks of: security, belonging, freedom, power, fun—anyone could strive to satisfy them (some more easily and successfully than others, of course.)
Intentionally or not, many dreams of that time satisfied those basic needs. Owning a home with a picket fence in a friendly neighbourhood, raising children in a loving family, working a regular job with a path to advancement; purpose can come from the possibility of achieving those dreams.
You may be thinking, “There were plenty of bad things too; injustice, inequality, etc.” We know that. But my focus here is to compare with the lost feeling that seems prevalent today. Is it unique to this time? More importantly, can we replace that lost feeling with optimism, purpose, and good will (toward others and ourselves)?
My sense is that every time in human history is a “different” time. It has challenges and offers possibilities.
Today, we have an interconnected world. That includes social media, which offers the possibility of connecting with friends we would otherwise never meet. But it also presents challenges when it becomes a breeding ground for contempt, bullying, and other dangers.
We have the possibilities that come with access to many information sources. We’re not limited to one TV news channel anymore! A corresponding challenge is that some of what we hear will be true; some will be false.
We are exposed to a host of concerns. Frantic warnings about the future lead some to believe that it’s irresponsible to build a home, to connect in a loving relationship, to have children.
Sadly, some entertainment and current events enhance the drama of disputes rather than promote calm and resolute conflict management. This implies that we will be forever divided; we can never get along.
I wish I could offer big-picture solutions. I can’t, but if you’re feeling lost, here are a few suggestions.
Have real friends. Make it a point to find a few people who genuinely care about you. It’s worth it.
Particularly for young people, develop some real, practical skills. Like what? Learn to weld, sew, plow, cook from scratch, build…. Knowing you can do valuable tasks builds self-respect. And, because any skill can be improved, it leads you toward life-long learning, which can pull you away from the lost feeling and toward purpose.
Analyze situations to understand who benefits from division, fear, and your lost feeling. Not everyone is acting in your best interests. Understand who’s who.
Look for opportunities to be grateful. This isn’t the best of times but it’s not the worst of times either. Purpose comes more easily to some than others. You have a purpose here. Part of the challenge—and the satisfaction—of life is figuring it out and working to fulfil it.
Do you know someone who seems lost? What might they do?
Welcome to Reality Check:
articles and observations inspired by the work of Dr. William Glasser
- Choosing Behaviour
- Choosing Perspective
- Control and Choice
- Develop Understanding
- Doing, Thinking, Feeling, Physiology
- How it is sometimes
- Love & Belonging
- Perception & Reality
- Personal Freedom