I heard someone say the other day that 2020 has been the longest year of their life. We read this and chuckle and shake our heads. We can all relate to this sentiment, can’t we?
We think of the last eight months or so, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the uncertainty, heartache, chaos, and overall dramatic changes to our lives. We’ve all been impacted by the unrest and uncertainty in our world. It’s human nature to want to avoid hard things. It’s tempting for some to try and block out or move past certain realities we’re dealing with. The right response in this unique cultural moment is to remain aware of what’s happening around us and to respond in the right ways.
And yet, we can remain present in the moment and recognize the hurt and the uncertainty while still looking for the good. We don’t diminish the reality of what’s happening around us by looking for the silver lining. Having spent years as a therapist, some of the strongest people I encountered were those who could deal with tragedy and still find the good in everyday life.
One of the ways we can see the good amidst the bad is to be intentional about our thoughts. I often ask myself if I can see something from a different perspective. If there is a challenging issue, a challenging conversation, or a challenging situation, the goal is to stop for a moment and reshape my thoughts about it, looking for the good.
For example, quarantine presents significant challenges for many, especially those who are sick. I have reframed my thoughts over and over again during the last months to see the good in the situation. For one, our family has gained a unique place of closeness with an increased amount of time spent together. At some point, we will return to “normal-ish” and activities will resume and we will be busy once again. But the “good amidst the bad” is that I have changed my thoughts to consider what a slower pace has meant to us. This way of thinking about things differently is called reframing. The more you practice it, the easier it will become.
We can also find the good amidst the bad by focusing on our actions. Picking up a new hobby, baking/cooking together as a family, playing games, exercising, reading the Bible more, and looking for ways to serve others have been actions that have lifted us up in these uncertain times. These aren’t new actions necessarily, but actions that I have renewed my focus on. It’s a profound truth that healthy actions can contribute to overall mental health. Amid a time of so much uncertainty and unrest, positive, healthy actions help us deal with the stress of our environment.
What actions can you take to help you process where we find ourselves?
It’s a truth we don’t necessarily love to embrace, but sometimes going through difficult times when we feel overwhelmed or discouraged can actually create growth and strengthen us in ways that we would not be otherwise. It doesn’t always feel that way in the moment, but I encourage you to think back to a time when you went through difficulty, and you came out on the other side of it, reflecting upon the ways you grew from it. Allow yourself to feel those feelings of sadness, disappointment, frustration, and then find a way that will provide relief by changing what you are thinking about or do something that will bring joy to someone else.
The photos printed on wood signs in the image above were taken of our family during the first wave of quarantine. They will forever capture these moments that, while severe, have brought us together in ways we may not have experienced otherwise. Check out the wood photos signs HERE. They are fantastic wall decor and keepsakes! Use code SHEGAVEITAGO20 for 20% off!
I hope this word gives you places to start on seeing the good when it can feel hard. Consider how your how what you are telling yourself or what you are doing day to day could keep you stuck in negative feelings. By simply changing one or two of these things, you could lift your feelings towards hope and joy!