HOW TO OVERCOME ANYTHING

Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds.
– Ana Claudia Antunes

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

So I love shutting the door on my personal problems until they pile up with enough intensity to knock it down. Covid-19 pushed me out of a $30.00 an hour job and cut off my back up skill line cooking. Then they shut the door to the Churches, meetings, the Triangle Lodge, and every other facet I’d come to rely on for mental support and stability.

Instead of becoming proactive and rolling with the punches I relied on my savings and shut out the world. We’re all supposed to stay indoors anyway right. Well, a month later the A/C fails which is unacceptable for Texas in July. Goodbye savings. Hello Mom and Dad, can I borrow money? Lots of it?

Things whittle away. Tablets are hawked. Warehouse jobs aren’t on transit lines. My car requires at least $400 in work, $800 to get my license in order, and another additional $300 to get the SR-22 required by insurance.

Let’s try taking action through inaction. That’ll help. If I close my eyes it’ll all go away. Wrong! Life happens at its own pace and the longer I sit doing nothing the problems will remain and continue to get worse.

So what do you do?

ACCEPTANCE

Unfortunately, this isn’t a unique situation. Our children are returning to school online with forced attendance. Parents who relied on dual incomes are now forced to drop down to one so a parent can stay home.- Or, in some lovely cases, they will attend in a group setting with the stay at home Mom up the street. Good on you ladies and gentlemen for opening your homes in such a profound way. -Everything changes. Thus is the way of life, and while we have no control over what happens we can control how we respond.

That’s the first step. Admitting that some things are out of our hands and we’ll have to find a way regardless. We’re literally coming to grips with a brave new world and the only way things are going to change is if we find a way to change it ourselves.

MAKE LISTS- NEEDS, COMFORTS, ZERO CONTROL

Write everything down. Think of things that you have no control over and repeat the process of acceptance. Some things we simply cannot change no matter how much they bother us.

Tackle every other bit of drama based on level of importance. Write down your list of things that are immediate threats to the safety and well being of your family. These are the big ticket items like mortgages, electric bills, transportation, or diapers and formula.

Then take a look at the creature comforts you’ve become accustomed to. Things like furniture falling into disrepair, the broken TV in the kids room, or that Starbucks latte you gave up enjoying daily because survival mode switched the game on you.

Look at your lists and think. Quite a few of us have really changed our perspective since all this started and are amazed at what actually matters to us. That’s the beauty in the breakdown. This whole fiasco has taught quite a few of us some profound lessons on what we find important. Enjoy that for the moment.

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS

Count your blessings. Be grateful that you are alive and able to experience all these changes. Then, look at what’s going right in your life. The cold air blowing into the room is a good place to start. The family being together under one roof, no matter how annoying they may be, is another. Shelter, running water, food for dinner, these are things that some people have lost over the months. Even they would tell you they’re alive and grateful for the generosity of the strangers who hand them fast food and the shelters who give them shade for the night. Everyone has something they can give thanks for. Everyone.

The point is to move beyond our hopeless state of mind and remember we are still blessed in so many ways.

FIND THE SOLUTIONS

You’ve tallied up what you have no control over, looked at what matters the most and know that some things still have to be solved. Clearly every problem on our lists has a solution. By breaking the futility some of us feel and focusing on our blessings we are able to see the solutions clearly. Brainstorm with your friends and family with all the ferocity of a think tank marketing a new product.

Maybe a second job working overnight could provide the cushion needed to survive. Simply downsizing and skipping out on a few creature comforts could create the extra income needed. Maybe it’s a matter coming together as a family, as a community and looking out for one another in trying times that’s needed. Maybe the shift from what we don’t have to what we do have was enough. Who knows. These are subjective suggestions that will vary greatly from person to person.

The point is, all is not lost. There are ways out of the struggle. There’s light at the end of the tunnel and we will survive to see it. Our ancestors are all the proof we need. They survived famines, the great depression, several world wars and all sorts of situations that stand as a testament to the strength of the human spirit. We will always overcome.

TAKE ACTION

You’ve found the solutions to the problems. Great. Start taking baby steps in the right direction. Wake up each morning and give thanks for what you do have so your focus remains where it should be. Blow the dust of your resume and put it on Indeed. Prepare to work twice as hard for half as much if need be, but never lose sight of hope. Never forget that so long as there is air in your lungs and feet to carry you, you can always move forward. Always.

PAY IT FORWARD

As the tides shift and things start to improve it’s always good practice to pay it forward. Be the encouragement your neighbors need and offer a hand. Whether it be advice or loaning a lawnmower, it feels good to be nice to other people.

Let’s get out of our heads and start looking for ways to ease each others burdens. This is a global issue that affects everyone. You’d be surprised at how much helping others through the struggle will bring fulfillment to your own lives. Our communities will heal and we’ll come out stronger for it.

That’s all I have.

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