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WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Psychologist Dr. Barton Goldsmith says, “Putting our dreams on hold is just that — they’re on hold. There will be other opportunities. So don’t get down on yourself because the virus messed things up for you; almost all of us are in a similar place. The new goal now is to keep doing whatever is working for you and stay safe until it’s over.”
These days, it’s pretty easy to get caught up thinking about lost opportunities. During the pandemic, you may have been unable to move your life forward the way you’d like — and been unable to see the gains you may have made. This can set you up for a difficult time emotionally.
It’s hard when you see that the 664 billionaires in the country have made billions more, thanks to the pandemic. Or maybe you’ve read that new businesses have started up (though many more have closed), and cannabis farms can’t keep up with the demand. Meanwhile, you are doing online business calls or Zoom meetings and are feeling a bit behind Elon Musk.
Sometimes dissatisfaction with yourself can actually be a good thing. After all, if you’re never dissatisfied, why would you be motivated to change or do better? But in this case, it amounts to just being too hard on yourself. You may fail to see what you actually have accomplished, and that’s no good for you or anyone else.
If you’ve been feeling held back and are frustrated or dissatisfied with yourself, the first step toward getting better is to recognize what’s going on here.
First off, it’s mostly the feeling itself that holds you back. You enjoy life less, your creativity is stifled, and you can get into a grumpy mood or even experience a depression. None of this is good, most especially for the people around you. It also makes moving to the next level a lot harder.
You’re not alone, and I speak from experience here. Last year, I had a huge and very fun deal ready to go, which the pandemic took away. I had a new book come out, which did OK, but just OK, and I wanted more than that.
Added to that, every speaking gig and social event in my world was canceled, which made me feel like I was being held back from the things I loved most. Others out there were still doing their thing, and I was no longer doing mine — but was this actually the case?
When the pandemic started, I made room for new clients, and I’ve been busy. Even though I’ve lost out on some things, the work I am doing is valuable and valued by those who receive it. That knowledge helps me feel that things not going how I wanted has maybe been for the best — at least for now. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you are making other plans.”
Being a therapist is my gift, and I have been using it almost daily — and this has filled any gaps I thought were occurring in my life. OK, opening for John Legend might be off the table for now — but I honestly get more from helping someone out of their personal pain than I do from being on stage.
I believe in right livelihood, which means if you are doing the right thing, everything else falls into place. Even though life is harder now, if you have been able to keep afloat in this storm, you are doing well, and acknowledging it will make you feel better.
Putting our dreams on hold is just that — they’re on hold. There will be other opportunities. So don’t get down on yourself because the virus messed things up for you; almost all of us are in a similar place. The new goal now is to keep doing whatever is working for you and stay safe until it’s over.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)
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