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!”

 

The Salem Witch Trials

I have always been fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials. The belief that witchcraft was behind unexplained fits of young girls resulted in accusations of witchcraft being thrown in every direction is quite intriguing. I would love to know what “caused” those symptoms the girls displayed. The bigger question, however, is . . . Why did accusations of witchery become popular in 1692?

 

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

 

Looking back at what is known about the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials, we find young girls behaving in an unusual manner. Not knowing what caused the behavior, it was believed that the girls were possessed by the devil. They then accused three women of being witches and bringing this upon them. Thus, the first case of witchery came to trial.

 

Oddly, there were other girls that soon exhibited the same symptoms. Hence more cases. Still, more and more accusations abounded in Salem and other areas more distant. By May of that year, there were so many cases that a special court was appointed to handle them.

 

Even upstanding members of the community were accused and found guilty of being witches. Rebecca Nurse, a possible distant relative of mine, was one of those people. In her case, they found her not guilty, then guilty, then she received a reprieve, and finally she was hung. She was 71 and was supported by a large number of people in the community. Yet, it didn’t save her.

 

In most cases, however, men and women were found guilty based solely on the accusation. None of them were allowed to have lawyers and had a difficult time defending themselves. Have you ever tried proving that you aren’t a witch?

 

The question was . . . Why were so many people so willing to believe that members of the community were witches? Speculation includes that the people funneled their fear of outsiders and other fears into the witchcraft hysteria.

 

The hysteria quickly wound down and dissipated in 1693. Many of the convicted witches were later fully exonerated. Unfortunately, it was too late for those who were hung or died in prison.

 

McCarthyism

 

In 1953, Arthur Miller brought the Salem Witch Trials to life in his play “The Crucible.” He was driven to write the play because of current events. At the time, Senator Joseph McCarthy used “witch hunts” in the name of stopping the spread of communism.

 

McCarthy was a fearmonger, constantly stirring the fear of Communism, which was very pervasive in the 1950s. The fear was so strong that many people were accused of being communist or communist sympathizers. Many of them lost their jobs or were blacklisted despite not belonging to the Communist Party. Others were afraid to object for fear that they, too, would be given the badge of communist.

 

Those accused were investigated or questioned before panels. Like the Salem Witch Trials, accusations were often accepted even when there was a lack of evidence. Likewise, the risk the person posed to the country was often elevated. Still, the damage was done although many decisions would later be reversed or determined to be illegal.

 

Repeating The Past

 

It is 2020 and despite the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution guaranteeing due process we are again repeating the Salem Witch Trials. The witch trials have been modernized, but they still have the same principle of guilt by accusation.

 

In today’s world, you aren’t likely to be hung after an unfair trial where you have to defend yourself. Instead you are “cancelled” by a decision of the Internet mob. In cancel culture, you aren’t given a chance to defend yourself at all. The Internet mob decides what is right and what is wrong. You can be found guilty by association. Worse yet, you can be found guilty for not publicly taking a stance on an issue at all.

 

It seems that like in 1692, fear has driven the world a bit mad. Today it isn’t a fear of witches or communism that is behind the accusations. Yet, it remains a fear based on people being different and having different perspectives.

 

The Tech Giants and the mob rule simply do not allow for free thought and conversation. They have decided to take the law into their own hands and change all the rules. One and only one opinion is allowed in the social media court. Wish to explain yourself or even to apologize and you just may find yourself banned from the platform.

 

If you think it is only people with extremist viewpoints that are banned, I suggest you do more research. Like Rebecca Nurse, who was an upstanding citizen respected by many, you may be accused if you don’t parrot “the stance” perfectly.

 

What We Can Learn?

 

So, what can we learn from our current situation? First, history does repeat itself unless you learn from it. Clearly, we have not yet learned this lesson.

 

Second, there are many dimensions to being different. Anytime someone is condemned simply because they are different it is wrong.

 

Third, judging without a fair trial or worse without any facts is a disgrace. And, it means that a majority of the time you will be wrong.

 

And, fourth, fear can drive people to act a little crazy. As discussed in our recent article “Why Fear,” Franklin D. Roosevelt was correct when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

 

The bottom line is that we need to learn to accept people who are different – no matter what that difference may be. They may look different, act different, express their feelings in a different way, have different religious beliefs, have different political beliefs, raise their family in a different way, etc.

 

This sentiment was echoed on a Little House on the Prairie rerun as I was writing this article. Laura was pleading with the people of Walnut Grove to stop a woman who was considered odd from leaving town. Laura said, “So what if she was different? We’re all different!”

 

Walk In Your Shoes

You are likely familiar with phrases that include “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” Generally, that phrase is used to indicate that you don’t understand someone else’s situation until you have lived their life or at least understood their circumstances. It is very valuable to consider someone else’s situation before you judge them. Likewise, it is also important to walk in your own shoes.

 

Define Your Shoes

 

To walk in your own shoes, you first need to consider who you really are. What are your true experiences and beliefs? What are your goals? Your dreams?

 

This is a process of learning who you personally are without influence of the “shoulds” of the world. For example, if you dream of being a teacher, embrace that even if your parents or spouse think you would make a better lawyer than teacher.

 

After you define who you are, you can consider any information that you have gathered from trusted outside influences. Then, determine if you can glean any facts from the information that may be important as you move forward. If so, tweak your goals and dreams accordingly. It is important, however, not to lose focus of your true self. Likewise, don’t let educational and financial requirements for realizing your dream or reaching your goals determine those dreams. Always focus first on who you really are. You can focus later on how to get there!

 

Natural Feelings

 

Additionally, it is important that you feel your own feelings. If something makes you angry or sad, that is natural. What is not natural is to feel angry or sad because you are told that is the way you should feel. Feeling how you are told to feel instead of feeling how you truly feel is not being authentic.

 

Pressure

 

You always have influences within your personal circles. Friends and family often feel they know what you “should” do or how you “should” feel. In recent years this has been escalating within the media and groups outside people’s personal circles. More and more it is as if you don’t have a choice as to the actions you take or how you feel about a given situation. It has risen to the point that you can’t even be quiet and keep your perception to yourself as other people and groups will interpret a meaning from your silence.

 

Walk In Your Own Shoes

 

To truly walk in your own shoes, you must be authentic to yourself and ignore these outside influences. To do this, take in information, consider it thoughtfully, and decide how you feel about it. Then express your feeling or don’t based on what you desire.

 

Giving in to people who attempt to guilt you into feeling a certain way or taking a specific action is no different than giving the grade school bully your lunch money. Instead of folding, you must stand tall. Look them in the eye and take a step forward in life.

 

Only take those actions and feel feelings that are authentic to your beliefs and life experiences. When you cower to the influence of others, you lose your power. And, you lose who you really are.

 

Need help taking that first step, contact us and learn how Imagine If Coaching and Consulting can help you on your journey!

 

Unique Perspective

In the first two articles in the Misconnection series, we explored misconnections that are created because of the illusion of a connection and as a result of our survival instincts. In this segment, we will discuss how our culture, experiences, beliefs, and values that make up each person’s unique perspective add to each person’s connections and misconnections.

 

Unique Perspective

 

Each person has a unique perspective that belongs to them and only them. The person’s  environment and culture in which they live combined with their experiences, underlying beliefs, and values create this perspective. All of these things come together and create a filter through which every piece of information they receive flows.

 

Thus, people never evaluate unfiltered information. By the time they consider the information, their filter has already tainted the information. Thus, people can have different perspectives on something as simple as a rock in the middle of a sidewalk.

 

A person who has had kids playing in their rocks repeatedly may assume a kid put the rock in the middle of the sidewalk because they had been playing there. Someone else may be angry because they assume someone put it there so that someone would trip on it. A person with a different experience, may assume it was kicked up off the street by a car. Meanwhile, the facts may be that someone accidentally kicked it there and didn’t realize it.

 

World Situation

 

People’s filters are very obvious in their perspectives on the current world situation. Some people believe that everyone should do as the authorities tell us. Meanwhile, other people feel that authorities have overstepped their bounds and have no right to tell people not to open their business, go to church, or hike in their favorite park. Yet, other people may feel frustrated because theybelieve the entire situation is overblown.  In their mind,  the measures are being taken are without merit.

 

In all these cases, each unique perspective arises from the person’s current experience, previous experiences, beliefs, values, and culture. For instance, a person who lives in an area where no cases of COVID-19 have been reported will not likely see the virus as a big threat.  However, a person who lives in New York City, where their have been many cases, likely feels more threatened by the virus.

 

Likewise, someone who has grown up working hard for every dollar and still finding it difficult to get ahead will have a different opinion that someone who was born rich. And, different factors influence the opinion of retirees.

 

The number of factors that go into a person’s filters that drive their perspective of a situation are endless. It would be impossible to explore all of them. So, let’s take a look at a subset of the factors relating to whether a person should wear a mask.

 

To Mask

 

People hold a variety of  perspectives on whether people should wear a mask when in public. Some people simply believe everyone should follow the rules. In their opinion, since the authorities stated that masks are necessary, they are necessary. This belief may come from their local culture, family values, or religious upbringing.

 

Other people have different reasons for  believing that people should wear masks. Perhaps they are particularly nervous about themselves or a loved one getting sick. Others may have lost a loved one to COVID-19 or a similar disease. Still, others may have anxiety that has heightened due to the virus.

 

Or Not To Mask

 

Like people who feel a mask is necessary, those that desire not to wear a mask do so for many reasons. Often these people do not personally know anyone who has gotten COVID-19. Alternately, they have known many people with mild cases. They also may see getting the virus as unavoidable and wish to get it over with sooner rather than later.

 

The decision not to mask may also relate to cultural norms. Some cultures may frown upon face coverings. Alternately, people may believe face coverings  have a particular meaning. For instance, a person might hesitate to wear a face covering if they grew up being told that was an indication of criminal behavior.

 

There are other very different reasons that people don’t wear masks. The person may have PTSD, claustrophobia, or have a breathing disorder. The person may also have impaired hearing making it difficult to communicate when other people are wearing masks. All of these may present in a person without it being obvious to other people.

 

Misconnections

 

Misconnections arise when people believe everyone should make the same decision they made. I know people who have been on the receiving end of a tirade because they were wearing a mask. One might ask, “Why do you care?” Well, it is hard to determine why they care without a direct conversation. However, it is likely that the person is judging the other person based on their filters.

 

On the flip side, it is common to observe people yelling at a person for not wearing a mask. You might argue that the person has a right to be upset and that they have the good of themselves and others in mind. However, it is important to remember that they don’t know the other person’s situation, history, or experiences.

 

In both cases, the person doing the yelling is judging the other person based on their own rules. Thus, it is very possible that they are creating misconnections about the other person. They may believe the other person is uneducated, uncaring, or out of touch. However, both may be educated and caring. They just have different filters they apply in processing the information they receive.

 

Up next, our concluding article in the Misconnection series. . . We will discuss retraining the brain to make more good connections and less misconnections.

 

focus your energy on what is most important

Life is busy and it may have been some time since you have asked yourself where you regularly focus your energy. Perhaps, this is a question that you have never asked yourself. Still, it is a very important question, especially in light of the current world situation.

 

The World Situation

 

You may be focused solely on getting through the coming weeks as we live through the most significant pandemic of our lifetimes. It is natural to flip into survival mode when your way of life is threatened.

 

It is normal to be concerned about health, loved ones, jobs, finances, food, and even toilet paper. However, there has to be prioritization and the appropriate level of concern. Toilet paper is not nearly as important as having a roof over your head and being healthy. It is definitely not something that requires you to buy every package you can find.

 

Maintaining Balance

 

Balance is critical. It will be much easier to take a balanced approach to life if you limit your focus on COVID-19 information. It is important to stay up to date on the government rules, but too much news is not healthy.

 

If you find yourself listening to lots of news commentary or you are constantly checking the coronavirus numbers (and you aren’t a government or medical statistician), you may be focusing too much on the current situation.

 

It is especially unhealthy to listen to the “political” views of the situation, which are not meant to inform anyone of facts, but are intended to stir your emotions and influence your political opinions. Anger and negativity are the last things you need in your life right now, as love and calmness are the feelings that lead us through the situation.

 

If you feel that you are really drawn to what is happening, look for volunteer opportunities to help others during this time. Alternately, focus on self-care, learning new skills, or activities that you enjoy.

 

Medical Workers

 

Now, if you are a medical worker, it may be impossible to maintain balance in the short-term as your focus is on your work. This is understandable as you are working long hours and focusing on saving lives. It is important to relax and meditate as best you can. Once things slow down, you need to make sure and take time for yourself to heal, not from the virus, but from the stress.

 

Front Line Workers

 

Similarly, if you are a front line worker, you may be feeling a lot of stress as you work to maintain your health while coming in contact with the public. It is key not to worry about your situation. Instead, take the actions (e.g. masks, hand washing) that you can take to maintain your health.

 

No matter what your situation is, it is important to choose action over worry. Even if you are temporarily out of work, there are actions that you can take. Start by checking into unemployment, looking for temporary work, and checking into government programs. You may also consider free online training that will help you enhance your job opportunities in the future.

 

Action Over Worry

 

No cases exist where worry or complaining to a friend will add value to your life. Granted, you may need to unload occasionally. That is fine. However, if worry and complaint are the topic of every conversation, there are better areas of focus. Instead, engage your friends and/or family in brainstorming options, research possibilities, and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who may be able to assist you.

 

Acting won’t completely eliminate worry, but it will lessen it and you may even find a solution!

 

Self-Care

 

Most people don’t get enough self-care under normal circumstances. Given the current situation, everyone needs extra self-care. You may want to consider what you have done for yourself lately. You may want to read, spend some time on a hobby, or have an energy treatment. Focusing on one’s self is critical in order to keep a high vibration and stay healthy.

 

A focus on self-care allows you to be able to focus on, care for, and support your family, friends, and community.

 

Your Focus

 

Survey the last two weeks and determine where your focus has been. Have you had any focus on caring for yourself? Has your focus been primarily positive? Do you have plans to focus on positive things in the coming weeks?

 

The answers to these questions are more important than ever given the current world situation. Be very cautious on selecting where you focus your energy since what you focus on is often pulled into your life. Thus, a focus on love of self, family, friends, and community will pull more love and joy into your life.