Updated: May 22, 2021
What on earth is happening in the world? Am I right?
2020 has knocked us all off our feet. From COVID19 to important social justice matters, it feels to many like 2020 may have every intention possible to create mayhem across the world. I would like to suggest a challenge to human beings to see this as an opportunity for growth. Let's commit to learning together this year.
COVID19 is an unpredictable force. It is something we cannot see. It is something we cannot fully control (yet). It is something that has caused death, pain, grief, fear, anxiety and isolation. This is causing lots of difficult emotions for everyone.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has opened eyes while causing a stir in others who have seen the need for this awareness all along. Lots of controversy, debate, disagreements and even family conflicts have arisen. This matter has also caused death, pain, grief, fear, anxiety and isolation.
We are being challenged as a species. These challenges are not new. These are ongoing issues that we as a people need to work harder to resolve.
I will not turn this into a political post or a rant about my own specific views on social justice or health; however, I will use my own platform to encourage us all to learn one thing new each week this year. We only have 27 weeks left of 2020. The challenge is to learn 27 new things!
Ask someone we typically disagree with for their perspective on a topic that often causes us to feel defensive or irritated, and choose to JUST LISTEN without feeling the need to respond.
Catch yourself when you notice you are making assumptions about others and sitting with this observation.
Change your behavior in some way. Example: Instead of commenting on a social media post or texting someone back right away, try journaling about it first. Try to name the emotion that's coming up for you before acting on it.
Expand your horizons. Ask questions. Push your comfort zone. Try something new.
Read a book or an article to further educate yourself on a subject that internally you are able to admit you don't know enough about.
Sit with and truly consider any perspective you haven't considered before.
Ask yourself "Could I be wrong about this?"
Do a values sort to identify what your top values are in 2020 and notice how they may have changed from the past. (Here is a great online values sort activity you can try: VALUES SORT ACTIVITY).
Turn inward and asking yourself "If I were in this person's shoes, how might I feel?" This may also mean acknowledging that we may not be able to ever answer that question accurately because we aren't in anyone else's shoes.
Regardless of the steps we each choose to take to open our minds in 2020 and onward, what matters most is that we know we aren't struggling alone.
If you are struggling and having a difficult time feeling motivated, hopeful or heard, please know that there are people who care and will listen. A wonderful and free resource is the crisis text line if you don't feel comfortable calling someone on the phone. You can text HOME to 741741 to text with a crisis counselor 24/7 from anywhere in the United States. You can find more information on their website: https://www.crisistextline.org/
Another option is the national suicide prevention hotline. You can chat here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Or you can call to talk to someone 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
Each city also has local support. In Austin, you can call 512-472-HELP (4357) 24/7 to connect to the Integral Care team. They will be able to assist you with any resources you need whether you are concerned for yourself or a loved one. They can send out a mobile crisis team if needed.
In all instances, if this is a true emergency, please call 911.