From your perspective, is the world in a state of turmoil? And if you do believe that these are unusually troubled times, does that belief affect how you live your life?
The world can seem very small. Communications that used to take days or weeks are now essentially instant. When something happens somewhere on the globe (especially something bad) we’re informed; right up to the minute. What’s the effect?
Anxiety is the response for some. People worry about the future—for themselves, family, friends. We are also concerned about the plight of others—even people we don’t know who are far from us.
In Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory explanation of why and how we behave, he suggests that we each have something he calls our “quality world.” You can visualize that “world” as pictures of what we want the most. We don’t want just things, of course. There’s the people we want to be with, things we want to have or experience, and our values and beliefs. When we perceive that our reality largely matches our “what we want” world, then we’re pretty satisfied.
For many of us, those pictures include a peaceful world—a world where people get along, where everyone can prosper, where a natural justice prevails and each person can live free of oppression.
If we perceive that the world is in turmoil, then we may experience frustration because reality stubbornly refuses to conform to what we want. For some, this frustration can be near-paralyzing. Stewing in frustration unfortunately seems to magnify it, producing more frustration.
You may even find that it somehow feels wrong to go about your normal daily business. How could I even think about my own satisfaction or happiness when so many are suffering?
If your perspective on turmoil is taking you in the direction of being disheartened rather than effective, and if you want to change that, then here are a few thoughts.
Each of us has our own abilities and resources. We have our own work and our own purpose for being here. Some of us may be in a position to solve world turmoil. Many of us are not.
However, each of us can work toward reducing turmoil close to us. We can choose to reduce anger and resentment in our own spheres of influence. It may seem a small thing to respond courteously when someone has treated us harshly or to interact with respect when we vehemently disagree on an issue. But it is something that we can do and where we can see the impact of our choices.
Work, whether paid or unpaid, that produces useful products or services is worthy of respect. People who stock shelves, build tires, treat illness or deliver truckloads of toilet paper are doing work that has a positive impact. Respecting that each individual has intrinsic value, regardless of perceived station in life, can go a long way toward dulling the sharp edge of turmoil.
This isn’t to diminish the appropriateness of empathy for people in far away lands. However, if you are having trouble functioning in what you perceive to be out-of-control turmoil, then try exerting deliberate control over one small thing: increase the respect in your interactions.
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