I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on the earth is not a hardship but a pastime — if we live simply and wisely.
– Henry David Thoreau
We are living in anxious times. Improvements in our economy are inconsistent, and our sense of security in the systems that we have long looked to for stability feels weak and fragile. There are no quick fixes for the long-term issues that have gotten us to this point, and our governmental leaders are as fractured and disconnected as ever. Job security is no longer the norm, and collectively we sleep less than we ever have. Often, with nowhere else to turn, it is our closest personal relationships that bear the brunt of it all.
It is understandable that it is in the places where we feel most safe that our deepest insecurities arise. I see this with my teenagers frequently; their anxiety often translates into anger or frustration, which in turn sets up my defenses and impatience. The results can be even more debilitating with my husband, where instead of practicing patience and compassion, insecurities come out in a harshness in tone of voice or short tempers. No one is to blame, and yet it is often those we love most dearly who get the worst effects of our insecurity.
Becoming mindful of the wealth that our relationships offer us during hard times is a healthy start. Harnessing and directing our basic fight-or-flight response to our advantage in proactive moves, like helping to search for better living conditions or a new job, is proper use of the added adrenaline running around.
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