Change is unavoidable in the aftermath of a crisis. Consider the world we are about to discover. We wish you the best of luck in your transformation into a better world. The world is made up of all of us, and it will change if we all change. When we change on the inside, the outside world changes. And perhaps this desire for a transformed world reflects a hidden desire for our internal change - it is generally easier to be left with the magical thought that if everything changes outside, everything gets better, even if everything remains the same inside - within us.
Although there may be a desire for change (both external and internal), there may also be a fear of it. Loss aversion. Fear of the unknown, which can also be perceived as frightening and threatening. Some people are so terrified that they must deny what is happening. They immerse themselves in a frenetic schedule of activities and an obsession with productivity in an attempt to maintain normalcy and control, which inevitably slips away. It can also lead to the compulsion of repetition in this phase of lack of definition, clinging to what was and what is known - even if it no longer serves.
Change, intrinsic to life, instills movement and marks cycles. It carries hope, enthusiasm and possibilities. You win and you also lose. Recognizing the inherent loss is the first step in dealing with change. We lost physical contact with friends and family, the certainty of being able to be with them, the tranquillity of leaving home, 'normalcy,' perhaps the death of someone significant, work - or at least work as it was -, projects and goals we had set. We had lost what we took for granted. We lost sight of what was and what we expected it to be. But we don't lose our ability to feel, to be touched (not the physical touch, the other), to observe ourselves, think, and reflect.
The emotional experience of loss prepares us for the inevitable change. Grief, the emotional and natural process associated with a significant loss (of someone or something), sustains and nourishes our psychic development and individuation process. It enables the alchemical transformation of loss's desolation into the ability to face the new life. We are still a society that avoids grief and sadness because they are difficult to deal with, and we want them to go away as soon as possible. The idea was that one must always be in a good mood, happy. But feeling the loss - grieving, being angry - to then release, elaborate, and accept. To make internal space and be ready to receive what comes with hope and curiosity. Integrate loss mourning to continue on a path of new opportunities, discoveries, and meaning.
We feel, and are, in the present moment. And it is in the present moment that the experience and the choice reside. Allowing ourselves to be touched and changed internally means going to our inner world, visiting familiar places while venturing into the unknown or ignored, on an exploratory journey of inner discovery, growth, and transformation. We can go on this trip by ourselves or with people who are already familiar with such journeys (their own and that of others).
It is said that crisis is opportunity - an opportunity to rethink who we are and who we want to be. Rethinking ourselves in order to grow as individuals and as a society. By being in touch with what we feel, with feeling the loss, we become more resilient and prepared to deal with challenges and face the future. As a result, we can work together to create a more emotional, conscious, authentic, empathetic, and compassionate society - both for others and for ourselves. A changed world, more human and meaningful. A world our children will inherit.
Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Arts Therapist