(Dr. Norquist is on vacation this week. We are re-running a letter that was published earlier in this column.)
Dear Dr. Norquist:
I feel like I always get the short end of the stick when it comes to life. I feel short-changed. It seems like everyone else get the good stuff. I’m no slacker, but I can’t seem to get any breaks in life. I work hard, but no one seems to notice (especially my supervisor). I’m always feeling criticized – by friends and family and I can’t understand why. Do some people just get a bad deal in life?
Dr. Norquist responds:
We may all share the same outer, physical world, but it looks and feels different for each of us at various times in our lives. Some see the world as dark, gloomy, unsafe, and untrustworthy. For them, the goal is security, safety, and sometimes survival. Some experience the world as a place full of judging eyes, and constantly feel lacking, or not good enough. The goal in this case is the ever elusive search for perfection.
Many focus on the goal of accumulation of wealth or prestige, and see the world as full of the “haves” and “have-nots.” Power is the dimension focused on by those who struggle to be on top. Their world is full of those who rule vs. those who are ruled. Children often see the world as a place full of wonder and surprises – a place to play, and have fun. Artists focus on the satisfaction obtained from creative self-expression. Others focus on the sensual pleasures life has to offer. The world can also be seen as a place to learn, grow, and evolve or a place to serve God and humanity.
What is your version of life? Do any of these viewpoints sound familiar to you? Life gives to you exactly what you give to it. It can be a playground or a battlefield. Try giving out what you’d like to receive. If you want love and acceptance – be loving and accepting. Genuinely practice this experience in life, and see what the world mirrors back to you.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2014 Chaitanya Counseling Services