While it’s true our 2020 losses have been brutal, the “worst year ever” label is drama and distraction
Kick split-thinking to the curb: 2020 isn’t the worst year ever.
It’s a global wake-up call that shows us who we are. All world-shifting events are reminders that we’re only in control of our own words, actions and behaviors. And while it’s normal to feel angry, sad, jealous or anxious in the face of adversity, it’s our response that counts.
Resilience is our ability to adapt to change and withstand severe stress. A resilient person reframes threats as challenges. She knows herself well enough to recognize her body’s fight-flight-or-freeze response and to engage in self-care before she’s overwhelmed. A resilient person builds inner strength through positive activities that push him beyond his comfort zone. People with a daily gratitude practice and those who enjoy spending time alone tend to bounce back faster. It also helps to examine our thoughts:
Drop the doomsday perspective: Let’s test the “worst year ever” claim: In 536 A.D, a volcano erupted in Iceland, smothering the sun for 18 months and initiating a catastrophic global cold spell. In 1860, the United States went to war with itself over whether it was wrong to enslave and sell human beings. The deadly Spanish flu pandemic swept the world in 1918. Any single year of the Great Depression (1929 to 1933) might be a contender for the worst year suffered.
And 1968 is a competitor: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated. Protests across the country to condemn racism, poverty and the Vietnam War turned into violent riots. A nasty, divisive presidential election placed Richard Nixon in the White House and nearly 50 American soldiers were dying daily in the Vietnam. So while it’s true that our 2020 losses have been brutal, the “worst year ever” label is drama and a distraction.
Become a true influencer: A Mayan daykeeper (a person trained to interpret the Mayan calendars) once told me to stop using the Gregorian calendar to set goals. Make plans on a 50-, 100-, and 500-year cycle, he said. A long view reminds me that my actions have far-reaching consequences that affect the planet and future generations.
Cleanse your inner Trump: Some of the most virulent Trump haters I’ve met seem unaware that they share his style of arguing (attack, lie, blame, deflect, repeat). Other haters tend to have an individual in their life who behaves like President Trump, but they “don’t feel safe” standing up to that person.
Hey, projecting hate at Trump is easy. Hating the man is even easier. Recognizing and healing our own complicity in racism, sexism, misappropriation of funds and other abusive behavior, requires effort. If you’re a hater, here’s a free resource for a mental cleanse, thework.org.
There’s still time to be the change. Keep a daily gratitude list. Take a course that requires you to confront and heal your racism. Slow down and notice your mindset. Shed conditioned beliefs that no longer serve you or a 21st century world. Channel emotional energy into positive action. And stop comparing yourself to others. Find someone who longs to be where you are. Extend your hand and pull them up.
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