“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
The unimaginable happened and the world shut down. As we tried to take it all in, scrambled to feed our families, and homeschool our children, the news kept coming at us.
How do we cope? What do we say to our friends as they grieve? How do we cope with our own fear and confusion? What do we tell our children?
We tell them that there is always a light; there is always good if we look for it. There is always hope.
When we take action, when we decide to move forward with our lives, no matter the circumstances, we are lighting that little flame of hope within us and that is EVERYTHING.
There is hope when we reach out to help a neighbor or listen to someone’s problems. When a tremendous number of people take to the streets in a united way to say no more, that is hope. When we laugh with our friends and everything seems normal for a few minutes, that is hope. When we reach out to help each other, that is hope. There is always, always hope and there are always, always choices.
The time has come for you to choose how you will move forward. What actions will YOU take to survive, and live in this continuously changing atmosphere? How will you find the light of hope within you?
What do you do with the fear, pain, anxiety, loss, depression and anxiety? What do we do with our anger? How do we live each day with so much uncertainty?
Here are some solid ideas for you going forward
- First, take care of yourself and your stress. Stop and Breathe Any time you feel anxiety or stress, stop and breathe. You can practice this right now. Put one hand on your stomach, right below your rib cage. You want your stomach to rise when you breathe deeply; your hand will help you determine if it is. Now, breathe in through your nose and you want to see your hand rise. If your chest rises, you aren’t getting the breath in deeply enough. Then let the air out through your mouth. Empty the air out completely and your hand should go down. Do this three times. This is an extremely powerful technique. You will be sending oxygen to every cell in your body, including your brain. Don’t underestimate this simple strategy. Make it a habit and watch how well it works. Practice this with your children and teach your friends. It is very important right now that you take care of yourself.
- Accept all of your feelings as valid. Read that again. Accept all of your feelings as valid. Anything you are feeling is normal under these conditions. Sadness, grief, frustration, anger, despair, anxiety, depression, fatigue: these are all normal feelings. Do not judge yourself, do not berate yourself, do not call yourself names. If the feelings get to be too much, reach out for support. We need each other right now. If you don’t have a person to talk to, write it all down. Get it out of your head.
- Take some time for calm and quiet. Create some time for peace. You can get up in the morning before anyone else and connect with your spirit and the love within you. Pray, meditate, or just sit still and enjoy the quiet. Even people who are alone right now still need to take time for contemplation and thought.
- Connect with your community and support each other. Even when we can’t see each other in person, we have many ways to reach out to others. We need other people to share our grief, anger, loneliness, worry. We need each other to share the good news with when we hear it. We need to laugh together.
- Control what you can control. There are more opportunities to do this than you may think. You don’t have to read or listen to news about COVID-19, every minute of every day. Most of the news is guesswork anyway. As states begin to reopen, you need to know what is going on in your area. Anything else, at this point, is a waste of energy. It is meant to scare us and keep us coming back for more fear. Haven’t you had enough?
Think about your actions and how you are choosing to react. You can be scared, and still, be kind. You can recognize your anxiety and still react with healthy actions for yourself. You can feel angry or mean and choose to breathe deeply before you express your thoughts. You can speak up, reach out, and help others. You can choose to look for the light and the hope.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the
human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Right now is all we have. This minute, this second, you are creating your life story. Your reactions are the most important parts of your story. Choosing our reactions, choosing reactions that feed our spirits with hope, love and joy are reactions of strength and power. You, right now, are reading these words and it is your present. This is NOW. Feel the power of making choices that will benefit you in your future.
When we can’t change a situation, we always have the power to change ourselves. Never, ever give up hope.
“For the world is in a bad state,
but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.”
–Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Diana Fletcher is a writer, life coach and activist living in Pennsylvania. She is the best-selling author of Happy on Purpose Daily Messages of Empowerment and Joy for Women revised and expanded edition. Diana can be reached through her website at www.dianafletcher.com
Kudos Magazine Volume 6.2