The temptation of a “clean slate”
Here are the words from the letters that dozens come to the editorial office and the Psychologies website on a weekly basis.
“I have a prestigious job with a full social package and a high salary, a beloved husband who in every sense carries me in my arms, wonderful parents, loyal friends and an institute where I study a subject that interests me. But … I do not experience either joy or disappointment from life. There is no anticipation of any pleasant events, there is nothing – indifference, emptiness. It’s probably stupid to change something, to look for something new … What should I do? ”
Irina, 21 years old
“My life revolves in a vicious circle, like a carousel. Only people who ride on it change. When the attraction closes and I am left alone, it seems to me that all the main things are sweeping past. But I am only an observer from the outside … I understand that most likely I created this circle myself. And to give up everything and build life anew is scary … ”
Anna, 25 years old
Such moments of turmoil are familiar to many: dissatisfaction, frustration, thousands of unanswered questions. Should I try to adapt to the situation or is it better to quit? Fight or, on the contrary, wait for an insight when the right choice will make itself known? These bouts of anxiety and indecision are even more aggravated when we realize that our life is unique and unique and we need to live it like this … After all, it is not a dress rehearsal of some other – correct and real.
Any of us has to thoroughly revise our lives at different stages: in our teens we choose our own path, later on, our life partner or companion, and about forty we are confused by the “midlife crisis” … But it seems like these attacks of doubt overtake us today us more and more.
“The very idea that you can find another, more suitable life is literally in the air,” says psychotherapist Alexander Orlov. “It becomes a certain characteristic of the time in which we live.” An increasing number of people are feeling the pressure of the “burden of possible choices” that the Danish philosopher Seren Kierkegaard wrote about: even after receiving a good education and work, many dream of a different … and at the same time they fear to destroy everything. Today we know that throughout life everyone has the opportunity to change partners several times – and at the same time, we are sorry to part with the idea of eternal love.
Previously, people were born with a practically finished biography: family and social environment in many ways predetermined life
“In the modern world, childhood – a time of discovery – drags on indefinitely,” says narrative consultant Catherine Zhornyak. – You can take place at any time, whenever you want to change everything in life, but because we want to try everything! On the other hand, we understand the need not to waste ourselves, to be in time, to make a career. These two equal promises of society from different angles put pressure on a person. As a result, some of us cannot decide, while others live with a protracted desire to change our lives, but do not dare to do so. ”
Constant dilemmas make it difficult to accept and define the boundaries of their capabilities. As the French psychoanalyst Jacques Aren says, “many are looking for a place in this world, while it is necessary to make their own way in it.”
A few decades ago, people were born with an almost ready-made biography: the family and social environment largely predetermined life, and there was little chance of changing it.
“And today in societies where technological progress has not yet reached, life is traditional and predictable: everyone knows at what age the initiation will take place, when, according to the law, family life should begin,” says Ekaterina Zhornyak. – Soviet society, paradoxically, was also predictable, although accessible to progress. People, of course, were waiting for the future, but they knew exactly what it would be like. ” A predetermined fate with almost lifetime cultural, social and ideological values was waiting for its fulfillment. Without the possibility of manifestation of your “I”, in all its features and originality.
Where are the roots of the tumbleweed?
They are called by analogy with a plant that the wind carries in the desert. Such people cannot be in one place for a long time, with one person, at one job. They are often considered infantile, life-led only impatient children’s “I want!” But the roots of the problem may be in the family history of such a person.
“Among his ancestors there could have been refugees: they had to instantly take off, just to survive,” explains Ekaterina Zhornyak. – This ability to live, not being fixed anywhere, – already unnecessary – can be reproduced in the next generations. And then the person will move, get divorced, quit, not allowing himself to have any attachments. Such people seem to be free, although they have only one choice – to constantly give up something. But you can work with such a “legacy.”
Today, before everyone lies many unexplored paths. Almost every day heroes appear in the media who completely changed their lives and seem happy: the professor left the department and succeeded in business, the kindergarten teacher writes bestsellers, someone dropped everything and went on a trip around the world, someone married and became a father at 70.
Many stories about miraculous transformations, newly revived desires, newfound freedom. How not to think about how to leave, to run away from everything that constrains you into some other, “true” life! “Today’s world expands our capabilities, but does not give clear rules,” says Ekaterina Zhornyak. “And this uncertainty gives rise to additional alarm: if the choice is too wide, it is much more difficult to choose what you really need.”
It is wrong to think that somewhere there is a ready-made life that is absolutely adequate for you. But change, seek and try is necessary
Who has never been visited by the desire to change everything “to the foundation, and then …”? But is it necessary to change one’s place of residence, work, life partner – or is it worth turning your eyes inside yourself? Finding yourself as you never had the courage to become? Is it worth fighting for your youthful dreams? Or is it more beneficial to learn to live in an existing reality?
“Our life today is like a supermarket,” says Alexander Orlov. – A variety of occupations, professions, and communication fascinates and captivates us. But it’s important to understand the internal basis for the choices we make. ”
First of all, we are talking about the desire for internal development, which should be the first step towards concrete and decisive changes. Goal? To find a lifestyle that suits us is unique, unique, consistent with our life values and needs.
“It’s wrong to think that somewhere there is a ready life that is absolutely adequate for you,” says Alexander Orlov. “But changing, searching and trying is necessary.” Listening to ourselves and consciously moving forward, we acquire the ability to simultaneously realize our deepest desires and the limits of our capabilities, to actively and with interest participate in life, whatever its events, to pay attention to others without losing our integrity.
Books on the topic
- Irwin Yalom. Psychotherapeutic stories. Eksmo, 2005.
- Alfrid Langle. A life full of meaning. Genesis, 2004.
- John O’Farrell. This is your Life. Phantom Press, 2004.