Giving thanks is more than a yearly tradition. Whether in scarcity or to celebrate a victory, gratitude was given through sacrifice in Roman times. Sacrifice was not only an essential part of the rite, but also obligatory, and woe to any conquerors who fail to thank God for their victory. Gratitude is associated with optimism.
Freud used the word “gratitude” and “grateful” often in his writing. Nevertheless, gratitude was not a prominent concept until Melanie Klein wrote her book, Envy and Gratitude. She describes gratitude as the feeling a child has in relation to that first object love, the mother, the caregiver. The infant first experience mother- and her substitutes- as the maternal breast or its symbolic representative. If this experience is securely inscribed as positive, then, love for the mother will preserve despite her imperfections. Gratitude is associated with that first experience of comfort. It helps overcome shortcomings, assists in making reparations and leads to peaceful states of mind.
Thanksgiving is spent with family members we have by choice or birthright. It is a time in the year when people recognize each other’s good deeds, and celebrate their lives as a positive contribution. We aim to feel a glee of comfort. We wish joy, peace, health, and prosperity for all.Learn More
Feeling alone and being in solitude is not the same. Some may feel lonely even when surrounded by people. Feelings of loneliness reflect an inner state. For some, feeling that way shatters their capacity to reach out and be with others. Currently, 47% of generation Z complained of feeling lonely and not having a meaningful conversation for days. The millennials follow them quite closely in the statistics (Cigna, 2018).
Some individuals chose to isolate themselves, cutting off relations with the world in a defensive way. Then, solitude may be a symptom.
Others suffer of loneliness in association with avoidant behavior. These individuals steer clear of social events to avoid experiencing criticism and rejection. They withdraw from social activities unless they have a chaperone. Eventually, they crave having friends but find themselves being solo. In other words, they wish to have more friends but often believe they don’t know how to do that. Besides, they don’t seem to overcome their worries associated with socializing. I often say that socializing is like a muscle: use it or lose it. Avoidant behavior increases social anxiety.
Solitude, on the contrary, is the capacity to be alone in the presence of other people. These individuals enjoy brief moments by themselves but socialize without troubles. Enjoying being alone is a positive experience. It could even be a sign of good health. This type of person can be truly good at connecting with people. They have achieved a healthy self-boundary and respect for others that allow them to be the best listeners out there. That is, they can listen to you, instead of listening in a narcissistic way.Learn More
By, Dr. L. Roth, PsyaD
Last year I had different clients complaining about isolation and experiencing difficulties in their attempt to connect with others. Cigna reported that the new generation was suffering from loneliness as no other generation before. It is interesting to see how the pandemic came right at the apogee of our individuality.
Social distance is a signifier that cuts across all social practices. As a distance that involves staying far the phobic object. Is 6ft enough? How do we measure that distance? The social distance required by biological transmission becomes an impossible ideological distancing that may give way to social control in the name of safety. It may install a surveillance practice as a way of managing the anxiety, our fear of dying.
Our subjectivity has been reduced to a body that makes us vulnerable and that puts our lives at risk. We have been covered by masks. At the point of fright, we reach out to technology. I am concerned about the technological assistance of denying the presence of our bodies to reach virtual presence. Technology is increasingly used with its positive and negative effects. It allows for some type of relationship while also keeping record. I am concerned about the technological assistance to the denial of our bodies that increases our virtual persona.
Since the development of the penicillin, medicine has defy death. We now live 30-40 years longer than our previous generations. We have distanced so much from death and dying, we have forgotten about it. We have forgotten about it until Covid-19 made it evident. How do we practice social distancing in the intersection between the exercise of our basic freedoms, the safety regulations and the need for human touch (of bodies in close contact)?
..And also, how is the pandemic affecting the development of children growing up in that sanitized, sterilized space created by social distancing?Learn More
- You’ve been feeling low or irritable for most of the day, every day for two weeks or more. You might have found yourself worrying about past or future events for long periods of time, or simply feeling sad, cross or tearful. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize a gradual change – have others noticed that you don’t seem your usual self?
- You’ve lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Perhaps you have been seeing less of your friends or family recently, have stopped going to the gym, or cooking balanced meals. This is really about recognizing changes in what’s normal for you – no one is saying you have to exercise five times a week or eat your greens, but changes in your routine can offer concrete indications that your mood is changing.
- You are struggling to concentrate. You might notice that you struggle to focus when reading or watching television, for example, or to follow the thread of a spoken conversation. This could be affecting your performance at work, or limiting your ability to perform routine tasks such as food shopping. Again, we are looking for a change in what’s normal for you, so if concentration has always been something you find tricky there is little cause for concern.
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
– Robert Frost