Often people find themselves trapped by the very life they’ve worked so hard to create. What seemed right before, just doesn’t feel right now. The outcomes we’d imagined haven’t materialised.
When this happens our real selves can get lost, reduced to nostalgia, pipe-dreams and bad feelings.
Yet even if we know this is true, it can be very hard to change direction or start again – sometimes there’s a great deal riding on it and the ‘jump’ to something better seems immense. And choices are difficult to see clearly at all – we’ve spent so much time and energy walking this road, often in good faith, that we’ve lost sight of there being any other.
In these circumstances a crisis of some kind can easily emerge. The hard truth is that sometimes only a crisis seems able to shake us out of what we’ve made for ourselves.
And the is true on the macro as well the micro level. We seem to be living in a time of perpetual crisis. Significant upheavals of every kind seem to surround us, starting right outside our front door and spreading outwards across the globe. Economic crisis, environmental crisis, political crisis……if we attend to the News too much it can start to feel that there’s nothing but crisis in our world!
And on top of that we all have experience of crisis at the individual level, often regularly throughout our lives: financial, relationships, work, family etc. We all know the territory. In fact, most of us will have gone through an emotional crisis of one form or another, serious or minor, quite recently.
Perhaps it’s happening in your life right now?
The purpose of The Authentic You can in part be described as helping people deal with crisis so that they come out the other side in better shape than they were before. In a sense, I work with crisis all the time.
And in this work, it can be very helpful to remember that the very word ‘crisis’ actually doesn’t mean what we think. Quite apart from the negative aspect of the word, so beloved by news journalists and editors – in which it tends to mean ‘desperate situation’, ‘disaster’, ‘upheaval’, or ‘trauma’ – the true meaning of the word can give us surprising insights into our own experience.
Medical professionals will know of course that a crisis can be: ‘the point in the progress of a disease which is decisive of recovery or death’. Closely related to this pathological meaning, the OED tells us that the word also has an ancient astrological root: ‘…a conjunction of the planets which determines…the course of events’. More figuratively, it means ‘a turning point in the progress of anything’, and, going back to its Greek roots, it can be used to mean ‘a judgement or decision’. Poetically, it can mean ‘a criterion or sign’.
Notice how the negative connotation, the bit so frequently implied in the media today (‘death’ for example), is only one aspect in the menu of meanings, and by no means an essential ingredient. In fact the general emphasis is much more on ‘deciding’ and ‘progress’.
I often encourage my clients to view their individual crisis in this way – not as a disaster or trauma, but more as a turning point in their lives.
Our crises may not be pleasant experiences, there may be pain and great stress involved; but that doesn’t have to be the whole of the matter.
They can also be times when great changes for the better can occur at an individual or a collective level; when the foundations of real progress can be established; when choices can be made which allow us to move on from the past and into a wiser, more fulfilling future.
Understanding crisis from that perspective can be helpful. We can view it as a means of progress, rather than purely as an obstacle.
Clients of The Authentic You start to understand their personal crisis as just starting point for change. It’s a way-station on the road to much greater things.