The digital world can be a space of incredible resources and learning opportunities, but it also opens us to the challenges of its intended and unintentional effects on our emotional well-being. Keep up-to-date regarding technology's ability to alter reality--for example, the availability of certain filters and photoshopping capacities--so that you're able to identify what's real versus what has been digitally altered. Learn to think critically. In our media-saturated culture, it's hard to escape the onslaught of messages about how we should look, act, and behave. With this concept of self she can accept and assimilate those organic sensations of affection which she feels toward her child. But the organic experience of dislike, distaste, or hatred toward her child is something which is denied to her conscious self. The experience exists, but it is not permitted accurate symbolization. The organic need is for aggressive acts which would fulfill these attitudes and satisfy the tension which exists. The organism strives for the achievement of this satisfaction, but it can do so for the most part only through those channels which are consistent with the self-concept of a good mother. Since the good mother could be aggressive toward her child only if he merited punishment, she perceives much of his behavior as being bad, deserving punishment, and therefore the aggressive acts can be carried through, without being contrary to the values organized in her picture of self. If under great stress, she at some time should shout at her child, I hate you, she would be quick to explain that I was not myself, that this behavior occurred but was out of her control. I don't know what made me say that, because of course I don't mean it. This is a good illustration of most maladjustment in which the organism is striving for certain satisfactions in the field as organically experienced, whereas the concept of self is more constricted and cannot permit in awareness many of the actual experiences. Clinically two somewhat different degrees of this tension are observed. I'm a sucker for a good motivational talk. I devour self-help articles, have attended myriad change your life seminars, and subscribe to the email lists of many a personal growth guru. Many times I've fallen for the seduction of hope, the fantasy that this new practice or that radical idea will change my life, be it a diet, positive thinking, exercise, or a meditation technique. I can't say they haven't given me my share of aha moments. But substantive lasting effect? Not so much, unless you count the lasting effect of blaming myself when the benefits of a new mindset waned or my enthusiasm for it diminished.

While it is true that my life has improved through adjustments of heart and mind, those changes resulted from more than my individual efforts alone. My individual efforts had to be supported by my environment to be effective. When I was being targeted for abuse at my job, no amount of affirmations or meditation practice could have helped me significantly if not bolstered by union action. I had the resources of a unionized workplace, with labor union staff and stewards to support me. Learn to identify and think critically about untrue and unhealthy media messages. For example, get into the habit of asking yourself, What words or images got my attention? What is the purpose of this particular message? If models or celebrities are featured, ask yourself, Were they airbrushed or photoshopped, and were filters used to achieve their look? Does anyone really look like that? What values, beliefs and lifestyles are being communicated in this post? Are theses messages in line with my truest beliefs and values? You have probably heard that grieving is a process, or that there are several stages to grieving. Thanks to the pioneering research of Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, we know this to be true. Kubler-Ross studied death and dying in the late 1960s and determined that grieving is a process following five unique stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There is first of all the type just illustrated, in which the individual has a definite and organized self-concept, based in part upon the organic experiences (in this case, feelings of affection) of the individual. While this concept of a good mother has been introjected from social contacts, it has also been formed in part from some of the sensations actually experienced by the individual, and has thus become more genuinely her own. In other instances, the individual feels, as he explores his maladjustment, that he has no self, that he is a zero, that his only self consists of endeavoring to do what others believe he should do. The concept of self, in other words, is based almost entirely upon valuations of experience which are taken over from others and contains a minimum of accurate symbolization of experience, and a minimum of direct organismic valuing of experience. Since the values held by others have no necessary relationship to one's actual organic experiencings, the discrepancy between the self structure and the experiential world gradually comes to be expressed as a feeling of tension and distress. One young woman, after slowly permitting her own experiences to come into awareness and form the basis of her concept of self, puts it very briefly and accurately thus: I've always tried to be what the others thought I should be, but now I'm wondering whether I shouldn't just see that I am what I am.

XV) Psychological adjustment exists when the concept of the self is such that all the sensory and visceral experiences of the organism are, or may be, assimilated on a symbolic level into a consistent relationship with the concept of self. This proposition may be put in several different ways. We may say that freedom from inner tension, or psychological adjustment, exists when the concept of self is at least roughly congruent with all the experiences of the organism. To use some of the illustrations previously given, the woman who perceives and accepts her own sexual cravings, and also perceives and accepts as a part of her reality the cultural values placed upon suppression of these cravings, will be accepting and assimilating all the sensory evidence experienced by the organism in this connection. Reinforcement like this is a great boon. If you are well resourced, you're going to do better, plain and simple, regardless of your grit or determination or other personal characteristics. Completely on our own, we may not have what it takes to get the life we want. Techniques like creating a budget and sticking to it can be helpful, but only if there's money in that budget. This isn't to say that we should give up tugging on our own bootstraps or reaching for that next ladder rung. Rather, I'm pointing out how much easier it is to achieve when you have support networks. Our success depends more on our ability to leverage support and change our environment than it does on changing ourselves. Self-help methods that focus on the individual don't help much if they fail to account for the surrounding environment. If we discount the importance of environment, we end up blaming the individual for failing to succeed or to be resilient. That's wrong. When we experience a loss, including the loss of a relationship, we process our feelings in these sequential steps. Mourning is rarely a neat process; When mourning a loss, it's important to keep in mind that our ultimate goal is the stage of acceptance. Acceptance brings about feelings of peace and understanding, which are necessary for fully appreciating the reality that loss is a part of living. Acceptance also gives us courage to let go of past relationships that no longer serve us, creating room for new and healthy relationships. Yet in the age of social media, as long as both you and your former partner have a digital presence, finding acceptance and closure is questionable, as a digital connection will always be available.

The ease with which we can access photos and details of an ex-partner's personal life makes it hard to resist doing just that when the desire bubbles up inside of us. As you will discover, however, indulging these urges comes at a hefty emotional cost. Unpacking Complicated Mourning Social media allows us the benefit of distracting ourselves as soon as we feel an uncomfortable emotion. This is possible only if her concept of self in this area is broad enough to include both her sex desires and her desire to live in some harmony with her culture. The mother who rejects her child can lose the inner tensions connected with her relationship to her child if she has a concept of self which permits her to accept her feelings of dislike for the child, as well as her feelings of affection and liking. The feeling of reduction of inner tension is something that clients experience as they make progress in being the real me or in developing a new feeling about myself. One client, after gradually giving up the notion that much of her behavior was not acting like myself and accepting the fact that her self could include these experiences and behaviors which she had hitherto excluded, expressed her feeling in these words: I can remember an organic feeling of relaxation. I did not have to keep up the struggle to cover up and hide this shameful person. The cost of maintaining an alertness of defense to prevent various experiences from being symbolized in consciousness is obviously great. The best definition of what constitutes integration appears to be this statement that all the sensory and visceral experiences are admissable to awareness through accurate symbolization, and organizable into one system which is internally consistent and which is, or is related to, the structure of self. Once this type of integration occurs, then the tendency toward growth can become fully operative, and the individual moves in the directions normal to all organic life. When the self-structure is able to accept and take account in consciousness of the organic experiences, when the organizational system is expansive enough to contain them, then clear integration and a sense of direction are achieved, and the individual feels that his strength can be and is directed toward the clear purpose of actualization and enhancement of a unified organism. One aspect of this proposition for which we have some research evidence, but which could be tested even more clearly, is that conscious acceptance of impulses and perceptions greatly increases the possibility of conscious control. We need to update our definition of resilience to include its relational context. We need each other. With the right mix of external resources, almost anyone can cope with most kinds of adversity. Those with supportive friends, savings accounts, a working spouse, and a retirement fund will be better able to roll with a layoff, for instance. Maybe they can even put resources into starting a new business, winding up in a better position than before. Unfortunately, optimistic scenarios like that make no sense for people without the same supports.

If you're living paycheck to paycheck, getting laid off is a threat that could easily overwhelm your ability to manage. Much research supports this notion of differential impact, the theory that altering the environment changes individuals and that these changes depend in large part on the resources provided by the environment as opposed to individual motivation. An example like this challenges the notion that individual change relies on personal agency. Differences in access to resources is too often overlooked when we try to explain why people fail or succeed. The avoidance of painful emotions is normal, but it's important to note that by denying ourselves the opportunity to deal with messy emotions like sadness, loneliness, or anxiety, we're setting ourselves up for failure. Exacerbated by social media, normal mourning can quickly escalate to complicated mourning. What is the difference between normal mourning and complicated mourning? A person experiencing normal mourning maintains their self-esteem and the hope that things will get better during the mourning process. A person coping with complicated mourning is consumed by feelings of despair and hopelessness. Complicated mourning can manifest itself physically, through insomnia, weight changes, panic attacks, and substance abuse. It can prevent sufferers from attending school or work or from fulfilling daily responsibilities. In a word, complicated mourning is all-consuming. Turning to social media in the midst of mourning--particularly when mourning the end of a relationship--only increases the chance that it will progress to complicated mourning. Instead of looking for an online escape when you feel sad or lonely, try self-soothing methods to cope with your feelings. It is for this reason that the person who has come to accept his own experiences also acquires the feeling of being in control of himself. If it seems puzzling that the term conscious awareness should be used almost interchangeably with conscious control, perhaps an analogy may be of help in clarification. I am driving my car on an icy pavement. I am controlling its direction (as the self feels itself to be in control of the organism). I desire to swing left to follow the curve of the road. At this point the car (analogous to the physiological organism) responds to physical laws (analogous to physiological tensions) of which I am not aware, and skids, moving in a straight line rather than rounding the curve.