Roles in times of crisis

How does crisis affect our role repertoire?



During the recent years in Greece we have experienced a series of tremendous changes. Feelings such as fear, anger and insecurity have led us to a kind of stuckness where creativity cannot survive.  Most of us have lost our smile, our positive attitude, our faith and some of us have lost the meaning of life!

In this dark reality we still go to work (if we still have a job), we are still partners of some kind, parents, friends, neighbours and citizens of this country. As in the older times and as always, we are bound to play several roles in our everyday life. Each one of us has to make it in his / her own world and cope with their children, parents, colleagues, employers, other fellow drivers on the streets, friends and one's own self.

Role changes have become extremely tiring due to the general depression experienced all around the Greek society, but also inside everybody's soul as we are in a constant mourning. We mourn for lost salaries, for the car that has to stay into the garage, for the trip we had to cancel, for mama's old golden ring we had to sell, and for the safety we lost.  It is as if we have chosen a vest to wear with which we go to work, we go to bed, we go to the cinema and wear it everywhere feeling blue. It has to do with our justified bad mood and irritability.

As human beings we are made to take up many roles daily.  Social roles as that of parent, worker, volunteer, neighbour and psychological roles as that of anxious, depressed, excited, loving, etc.  In the field of reality  our roles are not always enjoyable but still we can take them up and fulfil them. In this way we live a full life. This is also a reason why we live emotionally rich lives.Various experiences we have help us mature and reach self actualization.

In every role we take up we have several choices regarding the various ways we can behave.  For example, when we drive our car we have the choice to be calm or aggressive.  Who is in charge of such a choice?

Many people believe that we have no power over our feelings.  This is not true. It is true that some of us are more relaxed and cooler than others. But even the ones who are very "hot" they can have self control. All we need is a reason. Why should I stay calm? Why should I not lose my temper? As I said earlier, all the anger and pessimism that we experience in Greece lately, is justified. However, this does not mean that we have no choice. All we need is a real reason to come out of this black hole.

It is important to say that negative feelings are easily transmitted.  All you need is to meet one or two unhappy faces and there you are, you got it too! But neuroscientists have discovered that what is really catching, even more than flu, is a smile!  If you really feel low and meet some smiling faces then you get it too and very quickly you transmit it to others.

But how can somebody come out of their depressive mode and start smiling? There really needs to be a good reason.  A good reason then is to start thinking of the ways your behaviour affects the ones around you.

Let's take for example the role of parent. Who is parental behaviour affecting? Children and spouse of course.  Would a parent choose to teach his children how to react with depression in life's difficulties? Would a parent choose to raise children full of envy and rage? Would a parent chose to raise withdrawn children?

Let's take the example of an employee. Would an employee choose to pollute his office and the colleagues around him with his toxic feelings?  Would he choose to make everybody else unhappy around him because of his tension?  Would he choose to be isolated as no one wants to deal with him because of his anger?

In every role we take up, we have choices. It is essential to think of the consequences our behaviour has on the people around us. Then, we can decide whether we will act with anger, pessimism, or with positive energy.

It is obvious that neither our good will, nor our smile can turn down the tragic atmosphere of our times.  But what we can do is to consciously play our part with positive thinking, creativity and love for the ones with whom we share our life.  And these, are not only our children, or parents or spouses, or friends, but simple ordinary people with whom we stand in a queue or share the motorway and breath the same air with us!