“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Carter Crocker
In many ways the last year has felt like it never really happened, because other than being in the middle of a pandemic, not much actually happened! There were no weddings, no social events, no after-work drinks, no holidays, no road-trips, not many family visits and not many leisure activities to enjoy. It is easy to feel like this last year has been wasted time.
But all has not been lost.
It is extreme situations, such as the one we have found ourselves in, that force us to exercise different parts of ourselves. Situations such as this one can be a catalyst for strengthening skills and characteristics we didn’t know you had nor needed.
So, be mindful of your own progress, and ponder on those attributes that you have gained throughout the last twelve months. I am conscious of a few strengths that I think, to varying degrees, we have all acquired during this past year. We are all, at least a little bit, stronger. Would you agree?
1. Emotional Resilience
For many of us, we don’t remember another time when it has been more necessary to soldier on. The fluctuating tide of restrictions, losses, mistakes, and disappointments has made emotional stability harder to come by, and yet we have found a way to keep going. Handling significant emotional blows and finding a way to work through them is a hard skill to learn, and one that can’t be learnt ahead of time. I put to you that our collective emotional resilience is in a much more robust place than it was before the pandemic, and therefore so is our capacity for looking after our wellbeing going forward.
Problem solving is something we have all had to get to grips with of late. The problems have ranges from the enormous to the everyday. Of course, it is easy to pinpoint significant occasions when one might have solved a large problem; perhaps as regards planning a big event or working out how to operate a business safely. But those everyday problems, like meal planning, ensuring that your household has everything it needs with as few shop visits as possible, childcare, connecting with family and friends; these were problems that were just as significant to solve, and perhaps more important for our resilience and wellbeing.
Netflix and local walks can only fill up so much time. We have had to get really creative to keep ourselves entertained and to fend of both boredom and madness! We have learnt new things, picked up old hobbies, read books, created online content, started new traditions, and utilised our homes in ways that we had never considered before. People have written books, painted pictures, created banquets and played many, many games. IN years to come, when your grandchildren complain of boredom you will remember what real boredom felt like, and how you dug deep into your creativity and fought it off!
It has been said many times, but when this is all over, a hug from a friend will feel like pure magic. We have collectively become aware of many simple, seemingly insignificant, things that we desperately miss now that they are not available to us. It has made us appreciate simplicity, and to value everyday occurrences more highly than before. Personally, I am dreaming of the day that I can buy a coffee on the way to work to drink on the tube, that I don’t have to check my pockets for a mask before I leave the house, and that I can enter a pub and walk up to the bar whenever I feel like it. And on that day, I shall be very grateful indeed!
5. Togetherness and Galvanisation
Extreme shared experiences ultimately bring us all closer together; to make our connections stronger. Although I haven’t seen anyone in person, other than my wife and kids, in many months, I would also say that I feel closer to many of my loved ones than I have ever been. Openness and permission to feel our feelings has become more normalised, and I dearly hope that this trend continues, alongside kindness and compassion for our fellow people.
By Chris Thomson
Here is a closer look at how the pandemic has made the world’s emotional resolve stronger: What Has 2020 Taught Us About Emotional Resilience?
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