Sadly, in life every person will be met with circumstances that makes us mere spectators to a situation beyond our influence or control. It could be an illness risking the life of a loved one, an unprecedented economic downturn, a political crisis or natural disaster; it is in times like these, such as the novel Coronavirus pandemic, that we must learn to base our thoughts, choices and actions on courage.
In a time when uncertainty is prevalent it is natural to feel hopeless, fearful and confused. Many people are looking for somewhere to turn for hope and assurance in a time where we are ingesting large volumes of upsetting and confusing information every day. We are in need of courage more than ever, to overcome fear and show strength in the face of pain or grief; to be willing to confront our struggles in this challenging time and be gracious to the lessons we have the opportunity to learn.
This can be possible by practicing positive, mindful responses, such as those below, that are based in love rather than fear. Taking the time to consider how our thoughts and actions impact on others around us.
Accept your vulnerability
There is a common misconception that it is only weak people who struggle with feelings of inadequacy, fear, sadness or loneliness. Every person will feel this way at some time in their lives, and while some may experience these feelings more than others, it takes great strength to accept that these feelings are human, and yours to own. To be vulnerable is to be human, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Acknowledge your fears
It can be confusing at times to recognise feelings for what they truly are. We spend much of our lives practicing our coping mechanisms according to positive reinforcement. Some people learn as children or adolescents that fear responses are something to be embarrassed about, and so learn to mask it with aggression or indifference. Continuing to practice masking emotions can leave a person with difficulty admitting when they are afraid or how to deal with the feeling effectively.
Confront your fears
While it may seem an attractive option, avoiding anxieties and attempting to ignore the symptoms that preside them is likely to exacerbate the problem and negatively impact your emotional, physical and mental health. While it may seem unclear how the situation can be resolved, by facing up to the source of negativity you are putting yourself back in the driver seat; controlling the uncertainty rather than the uncertainty controlling you.
To be optimistic in the face of adversity is an invaluable attribute, which has the potential to help communities pull through a crisis like COVID-19. If there are times when it is challenging to keep encouraging thoughts going, be willing to let others help you.
There is no fixed way to show courage; it can be a small a step as to make a call to someone you think might be struggling but feel afraid of what they might be faced with, or it could be reaching out to people you don’t know who may benefit hugely from your support. It be initiating difficult conversations with employees about the uncertainty of the future; demonstrating respect, courage and honesty.
Manage risk and uncertainty
It is important to remember what elements of life one has control over, and what parts we have no control over. In order to deal with life’s uncertainties, we can put as many reasonable measures in place as we can, such as saving a portion of our pay checks, taking out insurance, and adhering to health and safety advice. Taking the time to consider what measures can be put in place to manage risks can help alleviate stress levels and help us cope with the unpredictability of life
Take the opportunity to learn
It is often not what people want to hear initially in a crisis; but every challenging situation offers a lesson to be learnt. There is rarely the perfect or ideal way to respond in difficult situations like the one we are currently facing. The sometimes adverse reactions we may experience can all be used as a way to learn how to improve and better behave in the future. There is no need to dwell on the mistake or seek to portion out blame, but to reflect, learn and grow.
Rise to the challenge
Absolutely anyone can be courageous; it is not just hero’s or extraordinary people we see in films or in the news that are brave. In times when we feel lost or alone, fearful of uncertainty we must focus on a cause we believe in, a world we want to fight for or people that we care about to motivate us to show courage and be prepared to take on the challenge.
The ultimate message to take away from this article is that it does not take monumental, extravagant actions like saving children from a burning building, or jumping into a river to save a drowning person; but instead understanding and practicing what courage really is; a belief in yourself and your ability to overcome difficult situations with bravery, compassion and positivity.