So: How do you feel about leaving your house? About returning to work? How do you feel about having to find a job? How do you feel about the next few months? How do you feel when you see someone who is not wearing a mask? What about crowds? How big has your personal space bubble gotten?
Many of us feel a level of worry and discomfort. Some of us feel the physical frailty of acute grief. Those of us who have not yet been struck by the virus wonder when it will arrive. Many of us wonder how we will move forward from these unprecedented times. What will that look like?
Remember that Anxiety is our natural resting state. In the March 21, 2020 post “Managing Anxiety and Grief While Sheltering on Place” I wrote about strategies to manage these experiences. Remember that anxiety needs a path of expression.
Most importantly, remember that anxiety is an archaic cue to assess our surroundings for danger and to problem solve potential dangers should they appear on the savanna. Here we are, on the savanna, and we have been reminded that things are not fair, that we can make fabulous choices and still be in distress. Paralysis and Inertia come to visit. How to move forward?
The most important thing I can offer is do your work: assess what is needed and how you will attain it. Assess risk and plan accordingly. And Move Forward. Even if you take small steps, small actions, keep moving forward. Keep taking action that furthers your ability to get what you need whether that is a mask, a job, tools to accomplish the task. Small victories are victories.
Having made your risk assessment and decided that it “makes sense” to move forward, whether by plan or by emergency, Act.
- Fear is a Liar
- Doubt your Doubt
- Flex the Serendipity Muscle
Fear is a Liar: Fear tells us to stay still. It tells us that we are not safe, should not risk, that bad things will happen. If you have assessed the risk and you feel fear, test the fear by talking with trusted people in your life. Let them know what you need, how you think you should move forward and what you fear. Make sure you talk with the realists in your life. Make especially sure that you steer clear of crystal ball gazers. The future hasn’t happened yet. Predictions, while comforting in their certainty, are not good foundations upon which to tread. Fear says do not move; Hope says take a step, just one, and let’s see where what happens.
Doubt your Doubt: Having made a decision to take an action, big or small, we venture out onto the rope bridge of risk. We will doubt ourselves, our vision and our reasoning. Are we surprised? A fact of being human is our inability to see what happens next. Doubt can be crushing. That said, doubt is simply a request to review the logic of the decisions you’ve made. How do you feel about your strategy? Did you get other perspectives by connecting with people whose vision seems trustworthy? When you review the information you have and how you are making choices, are do your choices still make sense? If yes, doubt your doubt and keep moving forward. If not, pause and reflect. Take in the data that suggests there is a better path. And take a step. Just one. Let’s see what happens.
Flex the Serendipity Muscle: Stay open. Look for opportunities. Make connections. Be curious. Allow for the possibility that the next right thing is minutes away. Advocate for yourself [be your best reference]. Be willing to see where you might fit in, what you might offer, where the possibilities are. Stay hopeful. Peek around corners. Take a step. Just one. Let’s see what happens.
Loving on Life’s Terms means staying flexible in our thinking, allowing for a future that is unwritten and has a place for us.