These are disturbing times. On the one hand, we try to remain calm. On the other hand, we prepare for an uncertain future. There is a great sense of grief for the life we knew, perhaps only weeks ago. No matter how hard we try, we cannot change what has happened. It is out of our control. What’s more, we are bombarded by social media images and stories about our future. And it doesn’t look good. But what can we do about it?
We are different and we respond differently to constant disruptions. Our past experiences, good and bad, make it easier for some to ‘accept’ the new situation. For others, who have experienced great stress or trauma in the past, their brain has been hard-wired to react with fear. These people are more likely to panic; “if I can’t control this situation, I can stock up on hand sanitiser and toilet paper”. The irony is that we cannot control an uncertain future. In fact, human beings are vulnerable. At best, control is limited.
But we can make decisions. Yes, we can choose how we navigate our way through these uncharted waters. In other words, we can make choices about our future ranging from social isolation to hygiene practices. The most important decision has to do with choice acceptance.
In the face of disaster, acceptance sounds trivial. However, the one thing we can control is that we choose to accept that this is our situation today. This is our reality. That decision releases new energy and new ideas. Once through the shock, we find a new way of being. So, today I accept my life as it is and plan how I am going to deal with it, one step at a time. Acceptance can lead to important adjustments at home or work. In this context, a new sense of personal security changes the way we work in the world.
Acceptance is the key. It means more than going with the flow. It is about making decisions. That is, choosing not to keep on fighting with things we cannot change, like who is at fault and who will sort it out. Life goes on, and life will unfold in a way that is very different to what is going on in our heads now.
In order to develop this creative sense of acceptance, we need to make time each day to give our brains a break, take a deep breath, and do something calming. As such, we start to see the world differently. We start to consider others. In fact, an act of kindness is a radical expression of creative self-acceptance. Accepting that we need each other more than ever, allows space to accept a new but very different future.