Imagine yourself maybe 10 to 15 years ago. Even five years will do it. Did you think your life today would be the way it is? If you had set goals back then, are they a reality or on the way to be so? Or have they evolved or changed completely? Are you where you thought you would be?

We not only change within, in terms of values, beliefs and expectations, but there are external changes in the culture, the society and the world and they all affect our lives in one way or another. Who could’ve predicted that both Marriage Equality, and now the Equality Act (just a few days ago!) would pass? Yes, there was work being done to make them real but nonetheless, each obstacle took a swipe at the hope and the determination.

On the relationship front, just last week, a friend found love in someone she had known for several years over social media and a few coincidences blossomed into an exciting beginning. Yet there are others whose partner has become ill and the situation has upended what was a balanced connection. I also believe that the atmosphere outside of our circle, socially and politically, have a bearing in the life we live, sometimes as a dark cloud, other times as an uplifting element.

As we grow up, there is an imagined picture of what life will be like, at age 20, 30, and later. Time concept shifts as we get older. Remember how summer vacation seemed like four months long? Disappointments settle in. That promotion you thought was in the bag fails to materialize. Your loved one does not remember the anniversary. You lose a friend, a parent, or a relative you were fond of. That nirvana of the long-awaited trip turns out to be quite stressful.

How do you maintain your mental balance in the middle of these arrows coming at you and feel a sense of contentment and positivity? We are biologically set up to be alert to all threats and negative events that aim at our physical and emotional being. But we also have that exquisite organ called the brain that is capable of not only fending off mental danger, fear and anxiety, but also focusing on positivity and all that is going right. Whatever you have to deal with, do you think: “I can deal with this. It may be hard, but I have been through worse and I survived.” At times, we have to convey and repeat this thought not only to ourselves but also to those we love. In that sense of faith in one’s self, also lie kindness, compassion, and gratitude towards others and towards ourselves. 

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” – Marie Curie

Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577