Acceptance & Resilience in Times of ChangeApril 16, 2020
Right now, everyone is being faced with a challenge. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has forced upon us a strong and powerful shift. It has taken away our sense of normal and replaced it with a sense of urgency. It has stopped us in our tracks and sent us spinning off into the abyss of uncertainty. It has placed upon us a responsibility to care deeply for others in addition to ourselves by considering our options carefully and modifying our behavior like we never have before. As I write this, I know that instead of just one challenge, this crisis has created several challenges and even inconveniences for us. Although these particular challenges are unique and have presented themselves in an unprecedented way, this is not the first time any of us have experienced something difficult. Whether it be big or small, we all have had to overcome obstacles in our lives. An example that comes to mind, for our community in particular, is how we have overcome the catastrophic damage of hurricanes in the past 3 years. There are, of course, lingering effects; but I would still suggest that we have overcome and will continue to overcome. The resilience that we have developed has continued to increase with each new challenge that we face.
At this time, it is important for us to reflect on what has allowed us to get through each difficult moment we have ever experienced and draw upon those resources to put some of those same techniques into action yet again. One challenge we can choose to tackle head-on is our ability to tap into acceptance of uncertainty. Change is the one thing that we know is certain, so why don't we go ahead and embrace that fact and lean on it with the belief that change will soon begin to occur in our favor. I truly believe that once we collectively, as well as individually, begin to lean into acceptance in the way that works best for each of us, we will be one step closer to standing in the victory that we all desire and require; a stance that we will revisit again and again.
Remember to feel all of your feelings and to live each moment in the most authentic way possible. Acceptance of our current reality does not mean that we have to focus on the negative or that we believe every aspect of this “new normal” will be permanent. Instead, it is the first step in welcoming in the infinite possibilities that are waiting for us on the other side of this crisis - the opportunities we will have to continue to build on our strengths and thrive. Continue to use good judgement and reflect on the things in your world that mean the most to you. That gratitude carries all of the positivity we need to get through this … together.
Acceptance is a mindfulness tool that builds resilience and helps to minimize anxiety. Here are some tips for embracing acceptance during difficult times and times of change:
- Draw upon previous challenges to be reminded of how you were able to overcome difficult times in the past. Although situations may differ, you may be surprised how much you can apply to the current situation.
- Remind yourself that accepting difficulty and change in this moment does not mean that you cannot still work on doing and changing things that you do have control over. One thing that everyone can do is channel the energy of frustration and impatience into taking a small step to incorporate self-care practices into your daily life - this may fall into the same category as something you have put off doing around the house, something many of us are focusing on during this time. Seek to make yourself a priority too!
- Accepting the change does not mean you have to like it or want it to stay. Instead, view it as a tool to deal with change as it is happening. Chances are you will begin to notice small things that are good around you and notice things about yourself that would not be possible without first coming to a place of acceptance.
- You can build towards acceptance of big things by starting small. Acceptance is as useful in interpersonal (i.e. kids, spouse, friends and other family members) and intrapersonal (relationship with self) relationships as it is in dealing with external events. Doing some inner work with acceptance, like taking inventory of things you like about yourself but do not give yourself credit for, can be a good starting place. This strategy could even serve a dual purpose and be a distraction to dealing with the big change that is happening around us. Turning inward is not selfish!
I hope that the thoughts I have shared here help in both small and big ways! Continue to take good care and be safe!
About the Author
Sonja Hebert is a Licensed Professional Counselor and part-time Clinician at Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Houston (M.Ed. Counseling; 2014) and Xavier University of Louisiana (B.S. Psychology; 2012). Sonja is driven to help others overcome obstacles by facilitating a safe space for exploration of emotions, coping skills, and personal discovery of strengths. Additionally, she has interests and experience in the areas of meditation/mindfulness practice, stress management, and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. Her hometown is New Orleans, LA. When not in session, she loves to cook Louisiana Creole food to share with loving family and friends and attend Zydeco (Creole music) dances and trail rides.