Capricorn – Emotional – Knees: ADVERSITY

The adverse experiences that provoke a personal state of existential crisis are related to the emotions associated with the past, the present and the future, as «time remembered», «time lived» and «time projected», respectively, in a critically conditioned way. In contrast, optimism, although directly related to the emotions related to the future, also allows us to nuance with its specific tonality the personal time in its three perspectives or dimensions past, present and future, not in a chronological sense, but in a psychological-existential sense and, to that extent, can help to overcome adversity.

Positive emotions associated with the past are generated and/or strengthened by overcoming the belief that we are determined by the past, and by exercising gratitude, repentance and forgiveness, attitudes that seem fundamental for the positive resolution of existential crises related to past traumatic experiences or in spite of them.

Positive emotions associated with the present are generated and/or strengthened through the enjoyment of pleasures and gratifications, which correspond to Seligman’s distinction between what we could call «hedonistic goals» and «eudaimonic goals», respectively. That is, pleasure and gratification distinguish the aspiration to a «good life» from the Greek ἡδονή, hedoné: pleasure or to a «good life» εὐδαιμονία, eudaimonia: happiness.

The positive emotions associated with the future are generated and/or strengthened through an optimistic attributional style the optimistic «explanatory pattern» proposed by Martin Seligman and an attitude of hope, resources that facilitate facing the situations to come and the consequences of the resolution of the crisis with positive expectations, of overcoming, growth and personal maturation.

People subjected to situations of intense crisis, of high adversity, strongly stressful and generating hopelessness, can fall into a state of existential emptiness, of noogenic depression, phenomenologically and psychologically contrary to the experience of achieving meaning, well-being and happiness, to the hope of a future in which meaning is a possibility and a responsibility. When inevitable suffering is not assumed and experienced as part of life, and when one is not able to extract meaning from it, it is a source of depression and hopelessness, alienation from oneself and from others. The experience of an abyss that separates us from others, from reality and from ourselves accompanies the tedium inherent to this existential state.

The integration of suffering into an existential narrative of meaning «despite» transcending the conditioning of adverse events, personal transformation in the face of irreparable past actions through forgiveness and repentance and responsibility in the perspective of the temporal limitation of life and the awareness of the inevitability of death impels us to act diligently, without sclerotizing delays and knowing that we will have to account for our actions are attitudes that can help us to live with optimism, with hope, even in a situation of serious existential crisis, of intense adversity, in a situation of vital limit.

I invite you to read Matias’ post with the theme of the day

Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being

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