I was sitting her pondering the Holiday Season and how everything seems up in the air as far as being able to make any definite plans. But what has changed really? This is our third Christmas Season during the Pandemic. One would think that we would be getting used to this but not so!
To me it demonstrates just how hard it is to make a change. We have been told that this may be our new normal. Well, this is not fun at all. When we look at our Basic Needs of Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Fun and Freedom as described by Dr. William Glasser in his Book Choice Theory, A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, it has become evident to me that every one of these needs are important and that his theory was right on target.
No one can dispute that the need to survive is driving the world right now to be rid of COVID 19. It literally threatens our survival, hence vaccinations, increased pumping up of immunity, etc. It is difficult to meet the psychological needs when the need to survive is forefront.
But let’s look at the four psychological needs and how we may or may not have met them the last 2-3 years. First the need for love and belonging. How often have we heard conversations like: “I miss my family so much since they are unable to travel”. “I miss being able to be with my friends”
“I miss our group meetings”. These conversations indicate that love and belonging truly is one of our basic needs. The problem is that it is dependent on other people. When someone is sick in hospital, and they are not permitted to have a visitor that need is extremely frustrated for both the patient and the family.
Let’s look at how people have compensated for this. We have seen a huge increase in the use of online video meetings. It is not the same as being in person but at least we can get some of that need met. When we are unable to see someone in hospital, we can see them over video conference. We have seen pictures of people meeting loved ones while social distancing outside. We have seen people peering through windows. People who have done this have also found that they feel a little more powerful, like they have found some sort of control. The virus is not in our control but how we handle it and it’s implications is in our control. Mentally healthy people have learned this.
What about fun and freedom? How have we met those basic needs? If we stay connected to people who support and encourage us, we will be able to laugh and joke and see the funny side of some things. Some would say there is nothing funny about COVID and I would agree, but my whole life does not revolve around the virus. I have found time to do some reading, which sometimes just learning something new satisfies that need. Playing games virtually with families. Seeing some funny videos people have created.
Freedom seems to be the need that a lot of people are feeling frustrated over. Many think our freedoms are being taken away from us. It all comes down to how we perceive it. No one can control the way you think, and no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. At any time, you can choose to do differently. Again, it depends on your own personal perceptions of the situation. There may be penalties, but you can still make that choice.
Yes, all the basic needs have been frustrated for the last 2-3 years Those who understand the importance of meeting their basic needs have become creative in how they meet them. It does not replace what we really want but we can adjust our pictures and find different ways to meet them. In some situations, families are meeting online now more often than they ever did prior to the pandemic. Look around you and find the opportunities at this time.
The more we can help others understand these things, the better we are able to cope with the pandemic. Yes, there are terrible things that have happened but there is also a lot of good. Focus on what you can control! Are you going to focus on all that is bad this Holiday Season or are you going to focus on what you can control and what is good over this Holiday Season. What will serve you best?
Wishing you all the best possible Holiday Season!