Does Modern Life Make Us Sad?by Dr Emma Gray - 11th June, 2012
Modern life in and of itself does not have the power to make us sad. If it did it would have the same effect on everyone. It is how we think about things and the way we respond to them that affects how we feel.
Those who have a strong sense of their own worth are able to think about the challenges that face them in a way that allows them to make choices based on their needs so that they get the best out of life. For example the new mother faced with the challenge of juggling her career and her new commitments to her child thinks ‘I am only human, there is only so much I can do, so I am going to do what suits me and my baby”. These thoughts allow her to makes choices that help her to get the most out of what faces her and as her goals are tailored to her, leads to a favourable outcome which reinforces her sense of self worth.
Those who question their worth and doubt their value (those with low self esteem) are unable to do this. Instead of using themselves as a reference point they look to others; a risky strategy as other people’s goals are only designed to make them happy. Faced with the same challenge of juggling commitments this new mother thinks ‘everyone else seems to be able to do both so I must too, if I can’t I am a failure’. This leads to unrealistic and unachieveable goals, designed for someone else, which leads to unfavourable outcomes and further self doubt.
In modern life there are many more opportunities to compare ourselves to others and in the case of those with low self esteem, to do this negatively, but those people would have always been more vulnerable to feeling sad, not because of what is going on outside of them but because what is going on inside of them.
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