What if I told you mindset was a choice? That at any given time, you have the freedom to change your life, just by altering your thoughts. I know, for some that might sound a bit condescending, particularly for those trapped in a thicket of grief and negative emotion. Really, something that’s all too common in our world today.
In fact, recent surveys show that nearly 54% of Americans are struggling with regular bouts of sadness. More so, you know that irritability that comes alongside anxiety? Well, believe it or not, but one out of every two people are experiencing it right now. All of that proving that this pandemic and subsequent social unrest has been a friend to few.
So, it goes without question that many of us are crabbier, more sensitive, and generally just feeling a bit anxious or overwhelmed. When that happens, it’s easy for us to snap at others, spreading negative energy around like a cancer.
The truth is, when life throws us a lemon, we have two options: self-loath and decide to be a victim, or view it as a challenge to overcome, ultimately leading us to become stronger versions of ourselves. When we take on the victim role, we become stuck, powerless to all of that negative garbage. But, what happens when we reframe our thinking? When we charge head first into adversity as a tool for growth? Well, that’s when we have the opportunity to become something greater than ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be a victim. To dance around like a bag in the wind, powerless to the forces around me. But, I’ve always been a bit of a scrapper. Really, sort of like a thistle in the garden that you just can’t seem to kill.
Truthfully, I’ve been labeled persistent, but also stubborn and difficult. Tell me something can’t be done, and without question, I will incessantly press on until I can show you that, in fact, it can. Believe me when I say that my relentlessness, often to the point of unreason, has led to long hours worked, countless failures, and experiencing the heavy burden of sacrifice. But, despite it all, for reasons I don’t even understand, I’ve continued to push forward. I just don’t give up on anything, or truthfully, anyone.
The reality is, each of us has the grit to press on in the face of adversity. The tenacity to weather any storm, including this one. We’ve been knocked down, and we can either stay down or choose to get back up. Getting back up is hard, it takes work to climb out of a muddy hole during a storm. You repeatedly have to find your grip. Then, you have to muster the strength to start over each time you slip and fall back in.
Still, that’s what the circumstances of today’s world requires of us. We’re being pummeled by an onslaught of difficult challenges. Many of us are facing financial difficulties, as jobs are lost and businesses fold. Essential workers are carrying the heavy burden of long hours worked, and the responsibility of ensuring that our communities have what they need to weather this storm.
Parents are facing a particularly tough challenge, as they carry the weight of uncertainty and fears surrounding their children’s health. All of that, while performing the role of an educator and grappling with the question of how, or if, they’ll be able to bear the weight of a career if their children are unable to physically attend school in the fall.
Lastly, we’re all working to digest the collective trauma that comes alongside the human tragedy occurring in the wake of this pandemic. Really, we’re trying to rebuild our lives around the personal sacrifice required to ensure the safety of those around us.
But, we’re stronger than the challenges being thrown at us. Talk to any athlete and they’ll tell you that performance is undoubtedly a task of mental endurance. It takes discipline to train each day, to pass on temptation, and to press forward when every ounce of your body wants to quit.
Just like an athlete, we will also need to press on. When things get hard, we can’t give up. We need to fight through the uncertainty; waking up each morning with the attitude that we can overcome any challenge thrown our direction.
More so, we need to take heed in our thoughts. Not only can we not entertain the negative, but we also need to make a focused effort towards the positive- starting each day with gratitude. Instead of spreading our negative thinking like a cancer, let’s use a spark of kindness to ignite a wildfire of positive energy.
Most importantly though, instead of bathing in our fears and anxieties, we need to redirect that energy towards problem solving a way to get out of this mess. Place the power back in your hands by setting goals for tasks you need to complete, then make a game plan each day to get them accomplished. Be disciplined and have the mindset of a fighter, so that you can help yourself and lead others to get through this storm unscathed.
Within each of us is the opportunity to grow and rise as leaders among our communities during this difficult period. As a nation, we will make it through this storm. Not alone, but as a stronger unit collectively.