Respect

It is often said that the Greatest Generation was great because they went through The Great Depression and World War II. Their greatness, however, comes from something deeper. Individuals and society overall embodied characteristics at the core that led to greatness. In this article, we will discuss the quality of respect.

 

What Is Respect?

 

Respect can be defined as giving regard or having a feeling of deep admiration. In this context, the focus is on giving regard to people, places, and things.

 

When it comes to respect, my dad, a member of the Greatest Generation, has always led by example. Never in my too many years to mention, have I seen my dad be disrespectful to anyone or anything. He has always treated people the way that he would want to be treated no matter how alike or different they were from him. Likewise, he has always treated things the way he would want his things treated.

 

This behavior was born, in part, of a culture and in part from his family’s values. When you grow up in a large family like my dad did, you learn about diversity of thought and behavior. You learn to embrace differences and treat everyone with respect.

 

The Greatest Generation

 

Respect, as shown by the Greatest Generation, showed up in nearly every aspect of life. For instance, at school, children were expected to be respectful to the teacher. If they weren’t, it was almost a guarantee that their parents were going to take the teacher’s side in the matter. You just didn’t treat a teacher poorly even if they were only a couple of years older than you.

 

Likewise, people treated their neighbors, as they would want to be treated. If they were a different religion, spoke a different language, or had a different political affiliation, they still got help when they needed it. Similarly, one family would never consider ripping down the political banner on a neighbor’s house.

 

The focus on respect also meant that people respected the country, the military, government officials, the flag, the national anthem, and other symbols of America. It wasn’t that one side or the other was more patriotic. It was that everyone was patriotic. It was part of being an American.

 

Similarly, respect was prevalent in the business world. A handshake or someone’s word was as good as a written contract. Holding each other in high regard led to loyalty between employers and employees. People were loyal to companies and in turn often had jobs for life.

 

Respect affected many other aspects of life, such as, dating, marriage, religious worship, the police, and more. However, there were gaps in respect by some people. For instance, some people did not show African Americans the respect they deserved. Thus, it wasn’t perfect, but overall there was a high level of respect.

 

Lack of Respect

 

Since the 1950s, the amount of respect shown by people has been steadily decreasing. Various cultural shifts and changes within families led to this decline. Today, the amount of disrespect for people and property has skyrocketed to unbelievable heights.

 

Today, a significant number of people are not considerate of other people or their property. The on-going riots and looting are simply an act of disrespect. We can argue the reasons that they are occurring, but the fact is that people that hold respect as a value do not behave in this manner.

 

Likewise, so many people show disrespect to our country, our military, and our history. Although these are more extreme examples, respect is lacking in many other ways. Students and parents no longer show the same level of respect for teachers. Additionally, many businesses don’t have any loyalty or respect for their employees.

 

The Lesson

 

The world today has a respect problem. In many cases, people want or demand respect, but they don’t give it to others. It is unclear why anyone feels that they should be able to demand consideration and thoughtfulness from others while at the same time showing disrespect. This is a concept that is foreign to me.

 

When Aretha Franklin sang, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me,” she was stating that the man in the song needed to understand what it means to respect the woman in the song. Now, you might not always be able to ask each person in each situation what respect means to them. However, you can define what respect means to you. Once you know what respect means to you, conduct yourself toward people, places, and things in a way that is consistent with that definition – or better!

 

Remember to get respect, one must act respectful!

 

Community And Beliefs

I started to write about lessons I have learned from my dad and others in the Greatest Generation. As I did, I realized that our recent series about community (The Value of Community, The Loss of Community, and Building Community) had neglected to discuss a very important lesson that my dad had taught me about community and beliefs.

 

The Story

 

My dad has often talked about the political differences between his father and a particular neighbor. His dad would listen to news commentators and then decide where he stood on an issue. Invariably, this particular neighbor would end up on the opposite side of the issue. So, my grandfather learned never to engage in any conversation on topics that might be controversial or political with that particular neighbor. He didn’t avoid the neighbor or cut off his relationship with him. He simply made sure that they talked about other topics.

 

The Moral of The Story

 

The moral of the story is simple. Community is more important than any set of beliefs. Had these two farmers put their beliefs ahead of their friendship, they would have lost a sense of community. That simple act could have literally split the local community into factions decreasing the overall sense of community.

 

Can you imagine what it would have been like if they stopped supporting and helping each other because of some issue that had two sides? I do know that would have changed my dad’s life and my own.

 

I also know that even back 100 years ago, sometimes people did take sides and it was blown up into a major issue that split the community. One great example was Temperance. Some people believed alcohol was sent from Satan and should never be touched. Meanwhile, others indulged from time to time or at least believed they should have the right to do so. Issues like this did destroy communities at least for a period of time.

 

Today’s Challenge

 

Today it would do us well to remember this lesson. Currently, many relationships and lives are being destroyed simply because two people or two groups disagree. I know of real examples where people will completely avoid or harm other people because of their beliefs. In some cases, they won’t even talk to family because of differences in beliefs.

 

I predict that one day many people will look back on their estrangement from others with regret. Issues come and go as do politicians. Likewise, most people’s beliefs and perspectives change throughout their lifetime. So, to lose contact with family or even community members over such a thing seems to be putting the emphasis on the wrong thing.

 

Diversity of Thought

 

Somehow people have come to feel threatened by diversity of thought. This leads to the question, “What is so important about our beliefs that we are willing to destroy our relationships and our community over them?”

 

Exactly what led to this moment in time is likely a combination of factors. And, frankly, how we got here isn’t the most important thing at this point. Later, humanity can look back and analyze the decisions, schools of thought, and actions that led to this moment.

 

Instead, people should now focus on where do we go from here. One option is to keep things the way they are. If people won’t even talk and aren’t willing to listen, people can never come to an agreement. Thus, greater and greater division will occur among people. There is no way to stop it.

 

On the other hand, if there is a desire to bring people together, the first thing people should do is consider the importance of community. If they believe that humanity and our communities are critical to existence, then they become far more important than any individual belief. Like my grandfather, people will then find ways to coexist in harmony.

 

Second, people need to remember respect. That is one of the keys to my grandfather and his neighbor’s relationship. They disagreed on many topics, but they respected each other as people. Without respect, no community can exist.

 

 

In our first article on Community The Value of Community, we discussed the definition and value of a true community. In the next article Loss of Community, we discussed how the loss of community impacts people. And, in this concluding article on Community, we will discuss how you can contribute to building community.

 

Creating a New Community

 

In the first article, we discussed that a community can have any focus, not just people who live near each other. Thus, a person with a strong interest in a particular area may choose to create a new community related to their topic.

 

CMX, an organization of community builders, states that the four keys to creating a new community are: identity, trust, participation, and reward. Without an identity or focus, a community is simply a group of people. Once an identity has been established, a person can begin to draw in members. Trust with those members can be established by allowing them to contribute and share in ownership of the community. This will also help grow their participation and will encourage others to join the community. Lastly, but just as important, members should feel rewarded for their participation. A reward can simply be friendship or support.

 

Getting Involved In Community

 

Often, however, people aren’t looking to create a new community. Instead, they simply want to be a part of existing communities. To achieve this, a person must seek out a community whose purpose aligns with their own goals and interests. Perhaps the person is new to an area and would like to meet others interested in art. In this case, they might seek a Meetup or see if there are any art clubs in the area.

 

At times, people desire to belong to new communities, but they aren’t consciously aware of their own need. Therefore, it is a good idea for a person to take stock of their communities once in awhile. They may wish to ask themselves, “Are the communities that I am currently a member of serving me well?” “Are there other communities where I would gain value?”

 

The answers to these questions are really an assessment of the reward they are receiving and the community focus that they desire.

 

Join & Participate

 

Once a person identifies a community that they want to join, it is important for them to participate. This means that they need to be interested and active, not only with the community, but also with the members of the community. It is important to build one-on-one relationships with individuals in the community as well as the community as a whole.

 

Be Interested

 

Being a member of a community is a two way street. If a person only takes from a community without giving back anything, they are simply a parasite.

 

This is why it is critical to take an interest in others. A person can do that as they go about their daily life. Instead of being self-involved, take time to notice the sales clerk, waitress, hair stylist, or other person who is encountered. It is possible for a person to build a relationship with a person that they see regularly even if it is a brief encounter. All it takes is noticing, asking, listening, and caring.

 

It takes very little of a person’s time to make someone’s day. Sometimes a simple smile or acknowledgement can go a long way toward helping someone feel rewarded.

 

Although smiling isn’t always obvious behind masks, it is possible to let the other person know you are smiling. One woman did just that in a grocery store one day when she stated, “You can’t tell, but I am smiling.” That might be outside some people’s comfort zone. However, each person can find a way that is comfortable to engage with others.

 

Creative Solutions

 

In Six Ways to Build a Solid Community, Rebecca Fernandez talks about finding the right tools and strategies for a community. This is important for any community and also for each person desiring to have strong relationships. Like each community, each person must find the right tools that work for them.

 

Don’t hold back from creative solutions. Creativity is particularly necessary with the current restrictions. Options to consider are one-on-one video calls to build relationships with member of the community. If a relationship with a particular person is critical, a person might choose an in-person meeting.

 

Likewise, a community or person can look for fun relationship building options that work well via video, email, or other mechanism. People can even go crazy and start a pen-pal campaign to encourage relationship building.

 

It is important for people to go outside the norms of what has been done in the past. And, it is even okay to go beyond people’s comfort zones. It might just be that unique mechanism for relationship building that makes a community flourish!

 

Loss of Community

In our previous Article The Value of Community, we discussed what makes a true community. Additionally, we highlighted some of the value it can bring to a person’s life. In this article, we will discuss how the loss of community impacts people.

 

Cultural Shifts

 

One hundred years ago people depended on each other for survival. Impart this was because  travel was greatly limited. Thus, people who lived near each other were not only neighbors, but their children also attended the same schools and they often attended the same church. Many people lived in a rural environment, which was a great opportunity to create community.

 

Over the last century, however, people have become more independent. Additionally, travel has increased and the population has become more metropolitan centric. Also, in the name of safety, more and more restrictions exist regarding interactions between individuals.  Thus, changing the relationship between people and groups, volunteer activities, and schools.

 

These cultural shifts have led to a general loss of community. When people don’t know their neighbors, it is hard to have true community with them. The same is true of schools and churches, which may draw people from a wide area. People no longer have the same ties with those people that they once did.

 

Add to this that church membership has dwindled during the last century. Thus, the church community is no longer present in many people’s lives.

 

2020’s Contribution to The Loss of Community

 

The year 2020 has challenged community in ways never experienced before. The lockdown shuttered office doors, churches, and schools. Additionally, regulations prohibited groups from meeting in person.

 

Restrictions

 

People were shut-off from any groups or communities that they had been participants in. Even with online school or work, people were distanced from the relationships that they had only days before the lockdown. Working or learning remotely removes the strength of the relationship from the situation. You miss the personal interactions and the side conversations. Even the shared experience of going through the current situation is very impersonal.

 

Almost every group or organization had to figure out how to do things differently or stop meeting altogether. Many activities were completely closed down (e.g. gyms, yoga). For others, such as church, they became very one-way. Video services were possible for many churches, but they can’t capture the relationship aspect that church provides – no meet and greet, no breaking bread together, and no building of personal relationships.

 

Even situations that allow in-person attendance have less community than in the past. Two children, for instance, can’t share a private side joke because they are likely required to be six feet apart at all times. This may seem like a small thing, but it is these little moments that build trust, which is a key building block of community.

 

Impacts

 

The regulations and varying opinions on them impact trust and relationships.  Even wearing a face mask can dampen trust. This is through no fault of anyone. It is simply human nature to trust less what you can’t see.

 

Similarly, it is more challenging to know when a member of the community needs help if you can’t see their facial expressions or are viewing it over video conferencing. Although there isn’t strong agreement on how much communication is nonverbal, it is safe to say that the more nonverbal communication that is lost, the more difficult it can be to communicate even simple things. For instance, in a class, a teacher can take a quick look at her classroom and know if the students understand the material. This is much more challenging with masks and even more challenging over video.

 

Impact of Loss of Community on Individuals

 

As the sense of community is lessened either through cultural shifts or through the more extreme limitations that 2020 has brought, individuals can be greatly impacted. Unfortunately, the impacts are often the greatest to the most vulnerable.

 

The elderly and people that live alone without someone close to call for help need community relationships to survive. When those are lost, they struggle. Some of the struggles are to care for themselves and their home, but often the greatest struggles are with loneliness. Since humans are social beings, the loneliness and lack of human interaction can be devastating.

 

If the person is hearing impaired, as many older adults are, distancing and mask wearing take an additional toll. In this situation, the person may not understand what is being said to them. Thus, they become very frustrated trying to communicate. This may result in withdrawal from interactions with other people.

 

Another vulnerable community are those people with PTSD. When a person leaves the military, it is critical that they keep in touch with their military family as that is a very important community. If they don’t keep strong connections, the effects of PTSD can intensify.

 

Similarly, each time a person moves, changes jobs, graduates, etc., they should take special care to maintain their connections to those communities while building new relationships. Otherwise, they become vulnerable to loneliness and depression. It is important for people to recognize that if they don’t have a strong connection to people (a strong sense of community), it is much easier to simply not participate.

 

Up Next

 

In the next article, we will discuss steps each person can take to build community for themselves and others.

 

Gifts of Adversity

In our recent article “The Lessons of 2020,” we discussed the various lessons that 2020 is currently presenting to people. In this article we take that idea a step further and discuss the idea that the challenges presented to us in life are actually gifts. Looking at life this way will transform your perspective on everything that happens.

 

Adversity Shapes Your Journey

 

In Matt Kahn’s book “Everything is Here to Help You: Finding the Gift in Life’s Greatest Challenges,” he argues that although people may not prefer adversity and challenges, they can actually be gifts. These situations can greatly shape our journey going forward.

 

Great examples are The Great Depression and WWII. Not a single American escaped the touch of either. People dealt with some aspect of each nearly every day. Families feared for the safety of their loved ones. Meanwhile, many were angry and frustrated with their personal situation. There was plenty of sadness and judgment to go around.

 

Out of these experiences came “The Greatest Generation,” which refers to those who lived through the Great Depression and fought or supported the war. In his book “The Greatest Generation,” Tom Brokow talks about how “personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith” were important values of the greatest generation. These values were built on the back of adversity.

 

Thus, these people were shaped by these events. One could argue that we don’t know what the values of these men and women would have been if neither the Great Depression nor WWII had occurred. Although this is true, it is guaranteed that these events shaped the remainder of these people’s lives.

 

The Gifts of Adversity

 

Kahn points out the gifts of loss, fear, anger, judgment, sadness, disappointment, and jealousy among others. Although he talks about many of these from the perspective of your ego or soul, these “gifts” can impact many aspects of a person.

 

Fear, when justified, can literally save your life. Other times it can help you make better choices than you would otherwise.

 

Sadness, loss, and disappointment are a bit different, but still very powerful gifts. These gifts are ones that can give you appreciation for what you had in the past and what you again will have in the future. Without them, you would not appreciate the blessings nearly as much.

 

When Gifts Become Burdens

 

The key to these gifts giving you value is to not let them become a burden. For example, fear is useful to human beings. However, if you become parallelized with fear about everything, it is no longer valuable. Instead, it hinders living your life.

 

The same is true of loss or disappointment. If you allow that loss to consume you, moving forward is not an option.

 

Embracing The Gifts

 

If you embrace the gifts with the perspective of looking for the lessons or the blessings in the adversity, your life will change. Instead of getting caught up in adversity and risk becoming obsessed by it, you will more easily be able to see a way forward.

 

The simple act of looking for a lesson or blessing in something, no matter how bad it is, immediately changes your life for the better. Why? Because you are no longer focused on the adversity. Instead, you are focused on finding something positive. So, next time you are faced with adversity, ask yourself, “What is the lesson or blessing in this?” It will transform your perspective.

 

To Be Present Or Not To Be Present

To be present or not to be present is a question people consider when going to an event or activity. However, they don’t often consider if they are truly present once they have arrived.

 

Somewhere Else

 

People are experts at not paying attention to what is going on around them. How often have you seen someone walking down the street with their earbuds in talking away and clearly not noticing other pedestrians or motor vehicles? Or, perhaps you have seen the same kind of person texting during a meeting or a family dinner.

 

Matter of fact, at times you may have found yourself paying less than full attention. It may be that you are multi-tasking, focusing on worries or thinking about what could have been.

 

Being Present

The concept of being present is simple. You simply need to pay attention to what is going on around you and brush aside thoughts of other things. This focus, however, is very challenging for people today. Technology and the fast pace of the world contribute to this problem.

 

Yet, without focus on what is happening around you, you cannot be mindful. Likewise, if you are not present, it is very difficult to listen to others and understand the information that they are trying to convey. Additionally, it is impossible to tune into your body to understand the messages that it has for you. Therefore, by not being present, you are basically flying blind.

 

Value of Being Present

If you limit multi-tasking and focus your attention on being present, your eyes will open and you will have the opportunity for a more fulfilling life. You will have better and more meaningful conversations and relationships with people in your life. Furthermore, you will be more in touch with your true feelings and will be more attuned to your body.

 

Moreover, being present opens the door to truly experiencing life instead of simply existing. Every hour you spend being present is an hour that you spend being connected. Although you may be touching a hundred things when you are multi-tasking, you often aren’t connecting with any of them.

 

Taking Action

Therefore, the next time the telephone rings stop what you are doing and really connect to the person on the other end of the call. Likewise, put down all your electronic devices and set aside your thoughts of other things when you are meeting with other people. Whether the meeting is for business or personal reasons, you will gain so much more by actually being there.

 

Choose to be present; choose to be connected!

 

What Social Media Says

So, you may be asking yourself why what you post on social media has anything to do with connections or energy. In reality, what you post shows a lot about your connection to the world. Furthermore, why you post what you post is a pure reflection of your energy and your energetic health. Even your social media platform of choice tells a lot about you.

 

Social Media Platforms

 

The social media platforms that you choose to use are good indicators of age and personality. They tell a lot about where you put your energy. For instance, if you spend most of your time on LinkedIn, you are likely focused on moving ahead in the business world. In contrast, although Facebook allows you to promote your business,  you are much more likely to be focused on being social when using that platform.

 

Social media demographics to inform your brand’s strategy in 2020 defines many other attributes about the users of specific social media platforms. For instance, the social media platform you use can be an indicator of your age, your gender, where you live, whether you are college educated, etc. For instance, Instagram users tend to be older and have greater income than Snapchat users.

 

Even among apps that are similar, the app you choose reflects things about you. For instance, if you choose Twitter, you are more likely a conformist or simply using it out of habit. However, if you choose Parler, you are more likely a free thinker who believes that everyone should have a voice.

 

Types of Posts & Comments

 

The types of things that you choose to post, the posts that you decide to comment on, and the specific messages you share also reflect a lot about your connection to the world and other people.

 

Consider the content of your posts. Perhaps you post about family, business, politics, or nostalgia. Each post also has a style. Do you prefer educational, humorous, or critical thinking posts? Or, perhaps you like posting general posts full of encouraging words. Although you may post several types of things, generally you will find that you have a preferred style, which reflects who you are.

 

Additionally, those things that you do not share, also tells about your connection with the world. Perhaps you choose to keep your political views private. This may not mean that you don’t have strong views. Instead, it may imply that you like to avoid drama, preferring harmony.

 

Reasons for Posts & Comments

 

Reflecting on the “why” behind your posts and comments can be very enlightening. Consider your motivators. It is important to realize what it is that you hope to gain from your posts. For instance, people that troll others on social media, generally desire to upset or anger others. They are looking for an explosive response.

 

Your reasons are likely more positive. You may simply desire an outlet to share news or happenings. On the other hand, you feel that it is your duty to convince people of something, such as, to wear a mask or to vote for the political candidate of your choice.

 

Energetic Health

 

As long as your motivation and your words are positive, you are likely energetically healthy. However, if you find yourself sharing negative things with others or trying to convince people that someone or something is bad, it is time to check in energetically.

 

Continual negativity is extremely unhealthy. Over time, a negative energetic focus can manifest as emotional, mental, or physical issues. Even being exposed to other people’s negativity can be harmful. Therefore, it is healthy to not only keep your posts focused on positive topics, but to also avoid other people’s negativity.

 

With social media, you can avoid negativity by limiting posts and comments on negative or emotionally charged topics. If you see something that bothers you, look at the options on that platform for limiting your exposure to those items. You may be able to hide specific content (e.g. a specific post or specific language). Likewise, you may be able to unfollow or block a user who spews negativity.

 

Remember to put your energetic health first. If you see negativity showing up often, take steps to lessen it. You will actually feel better.

 

 

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Today as I am watching the U.S. House Judiciary Committee question Attorney General Bill Barr, I am reminded of the biblical verse John 8:32, which states “… And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

Desire To Know The Truth

 

The problem I am observing during this committee hearing is the lack of desire to know the truth. Bill Barr was not called to the committee so that he could share facts or present the truth, as he believes it. Instead, the committee’s goal appears to be to grandstand and have their political points entered into the record.

 

I know this to be the case because Mr. Barr repeatedly attempted to answer questions only to have members of Congress cut him off or speak over him. They ask question after question without allowing for an answer. Thus, one must assume that they are not there to find out the truth.

 

In Your Life

 

Although this is politics, the same is often true in the lives of everyday citizens. Sometimes people try not to find out what they subconsciously and sometimes even consciously already know to be true. Consider the wife that knows or at least suspects that her husband is cheating on her. Often a woman in that position will go to great lengths not to find out the truth. Similarly, some women will sometimes defend their husband telling you that it can’t be true.

 

The same is true about other things in life. People avoid learning of heath problems, deny that their job is coming to an end, and often avoid listening to information that is contrary to their beliefs.

 

Speaking The Truth

 

People also refrain from telling others the truth about things they have done and mistakes they have made. The Urban Dictionary states, “The Truth Shall Set You Free” is “one of the LEAST “true” statements of all time.” However, their argument is that if you tell the truth then your parents or authorities may take away your freedom.

 

The problem is that the Urban Dictionary’s argument is solely based on physical freedom that can in some circumstances be restricted. It does not consider the clear conscience or the freedom that comes from acknowledging the truth.

 

Truth, Anger, and Freedom

 

Despite the desire not to know or not to share the truth, freedom and peace only come from doing so. As Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off!” This is very true. Yet, knowing and sharing are necessary.

 

Once information comes to light, you can make decisions and changes to improve your life. It isn’t easy. Like with Congress, it is much easier to keep telling the story people (often including yourself) want to believe than to deal with the realities of what is really true. However, facing the facts is the only way to actually move forward.

 

With facts, you can take control of your health, your finances, your career, your relationships, and your life overall. Without facts, you are just kidding yourself. It is impossible to move forward when you don’t know and/or accept the truth.

 

Choice

 

The choice is yours. You can choose to close your ears, eyes, and mouth to avoid the truth coming to light. If you make this choice, you will be limited. You will not move forward and the truth will continue to haunt you.

 

On the other hand, you can choose acknowledge the truth, as difficult as it may be to accept. Then, by accepting the truth, you can move forward in your life. Even if your truth comes with temporary limits on your physical freedom, the issue will be in the open. This means that you can make decisions on how to improve your life given your truths. These decisions can taken you down any path you choose. Thus, the truth shall set you free!

 

The Power Of Energy

Everything in this universe is made of energy. The power of energy is amazing and can create wonderful things. Likewise, it can also be used to manifest the worst of things.

 

Energy manifests people, trees, mountains, houses, planets, horses, diseases, and emotions. We identify each thing as unique with specific words that describe them. However, at the core, they remain energy. With time and the right circumstances, each one can be transformed into something different.

 

Spoon Bending

 

Spoon BendingThe transformation of energy can readily be demonstrated using spoon bending. A spoon can easily be bent without a hammer or other tools by simply getting into the correct frame of mind. Some people will still need to put mild pressure on the spoon, but for others it will simply melt in their hands curling around into a new shape.

 

Some people believe this is stage magic, but it is not. I have personally bent spoons, witnessed others bending spoons, and have successfully taught people that knew nothing about spoon bending how to transform a spoon. The only magic to it is opening up your mind to the possibilities.

 

Fighting

 

Now, lets consider the current world situation. COVID-19 is still raging across the world. People are fighting about everything. Some are fighting over the effectiveness of medicines and masks to fight the virus. Others are fighting against oppression. And, others are fighting against everything American. At the same time, people aren’t allowed to gather with family and friends. Church services are prohibited or limited out of caution.

 

The bottom line is that a huge amount of the collective energy in the world is currently focused on negativity, which in turn manifests more negativity.

 

Turning It Around

 

We, as the collective citizens of earth, have the ability to turn the tide toward the positive. All we have to do is to set our intent on all the positive possibilities. For instance, focusing on statements, such as, “Americans will be wearing masks for years,” brings forward the image of masks forever. This energy holds the virus here and doesn’t allow it to be released. On the other hand, if we focus our energy on a world that is free of COVID-19, it makes room for healing and for the virus to be eliminated.

 

The same can be said of all the other negativity that is manifesting in our country. For instance, the idea of equality and equal treatment by the police is an honorable one. However, when the issue is hijacked and exploited by people with other agendas, the movement loses its original intent. Instead, it has bread violence and negativity that go far beyond the issue at hand. In this situation, we can help by focusing our energy on having a country where every person is treated with respect and dignity.

 

World Shift

 

Now, you might not believe that we really have the power to make this type of shift in the world. It is okay to be skeptical. All I would ask is that you observe your personal world and give it a try.

 

COVID-19

 

To do this, consider where you focus your energy. For COVID-19, do you focus on fear of you or a loved one getting the virus? Do you focus on whether people wear masks or do you feel compelled to pressure people to wear masks? If the answer to any of these questions is, “Yes,” then you are holding onto the virus.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to take unnecessary risks. Instead, it means that you take the proper precautions that you feel are necessary for you and your family while remaining optimistic that this virus can be beat. If you are having difficulty being optimistic, stay away from the news and the statistics. Instead, find something positive to do. Help someone or focus on personal growth.

 

Equality

 

The same can be applied to the equal treatment of people. First, be a survivor, not a victim. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into feeling things that you don’t. Otherwise, you will no longer be your authentic self. Second, check your focus. Are you focusing on how horrible the police or other people are? Do you consider all people of any group racist, horrible, or any other negative adjective? If you do, consider starting from the perspective that most people are good people. Again, don’t take unnecessary risks. There are people that will harm you. However, if you look beyond the color of the person’s skin, their politics, and their religion, you may find that the person is a good person. Amazingly, you may even find that you have a lot in common.

 

Personal Transformation

 

Self-observation, reflection, and movement toward positive energy are key steps toward transforming yourself. With this transformation, you will change your life. By changing your life, you will change the life of others around you. The change just continues to grow and grow until the energy reaches a point where it tilts the overall energy from the negative to the positive. Once that happens, you have become a part of changing the world and making it a better place to live.

 

To learn more about personal transformation, check out our articles “Opening the Door to Change” and “Look for the Good in Everything.” Additionally, you may wish to check out Charles Cox’s blog post “Essentials of Personal Transformation.”

 

Be a survivor

My grandfather believed that if something bad happened to you or your family that you simply carry on. It happened. It is a fact. Furthermore, he never thought for a moment that you should stop and wallow in what happened. You do need to process what has happened as moving on without working through the issue can be harmful. However, you can’t let the bad things in life define you if you want to be a survivor.

 

Being A Victim

 

The negative situation could be a circumstance, an event, etc. You may have been born very poor, you may have been attacked, been adopted, or may have been verbally abused. In the moment, it is reasonable to consider yourself a victim of the situation. However, you don’t have to remain a victim.

 

It is all about where you focus your energy. If you focus your energy on being a victim, you have no chance to move forward. You are guaranteed to remain a victim.

 

Anything Is Possible

 

On the other hand, you can make the choice to focus your energy on surviving and moving forward. In some circumstances, a positive focus can be extremely challenging. However, a positive focus is always an option.

 

Part of a positive focus is simply starting from the perspective of what you can do instead of what you cannot do. Be willing to take steps forward. Then, surround yourself, as much as possible, with strong people that support you.

 

Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and retired neurosurgeon, is an excellent role model for survivors. After his mother found out her husband was a bigamist, she raised him and his brother alone. They were poor and she only had a third grade education to rely on.

 

Despite those limitations, she knew education was important and she believed in her sons. She insisted Ben spend time reading and learning. He found over time that he enjoyed learning. His focus on education paid off. Ben showed that if you focus your energy on surviving and moving forward, anything is possible.

 

Ability

 

So, if someone tells you fractions are hard, you have a choice. You can unconsciously comply with their statement or you can show you are a survivor by conquering them.

 

Likewise, if you are told you can’t do something because you are a girl. Realize that being a girl is simply a fact. Some limitations do exist based on societal norms or physical limitations. However, for the most part, your gender does limit your possibilities.

 

Don’t fall victim to other people’s “rules.” If you want to do something, stand up and say, “I can do it.”

 

Medical Issues

 

The same is true when faced with a medical issue. If you find out that you have a disease, you can become a victim and assume that you have no chance to overcome it. On the other hand, you can fight it with your heart and soul.

 

Similarly, some people just know that they are going to get the common cold, the flu, or COVID-19. They are “victims” before they are ever exposed. This belief actually makes these people more susceptible the virus. On the other hand, if you are strong and take a survivor mindset, you stay safer from the virus.

 

Negative Events

 

Although anyone can be victimized, having a mindset of a victim can make a person more vulnerable to negative events. Similarly, those events can control the person’s life if they continue to have that mindset.

 

However, if the person has the mindset of a survivor, they will have a much greater chance of moving past the event – no matter how awful the event was. This doesn’t mean that there is no pain. It simply means that the pain does not control the person’s life. It is with survivor attitude that nearly everything can be conquered.

 

Be A Survivor

 

The theme song to the show Reba says, “My roots are planted in the past.” This is true for each person. You can’t escape facts and it is no use trying. You can’t change who you are or what you have experienced.

 

However, the song goes on to say, “Who I am is who I want to be.” Again, this is true for each person. You have choices and you can decide what defines you.

 

In the end, if, like Reba, you have “the heart of a fighter,” you will be able to say, “I’m a survivor!”