There was a sales class I took where the teacher explained that it is best to always find a benefit to every fact. Whether the fact is positive or not, the idea is to always find a positive benefit and learn to connect to our co-workers and clients with a strong level of commonality. I saw how this helped me as a salesman. Moreover, I can see how this helps me with everyday life.
Take now for example. Take the times we face and the losses we’ve endured over the last several months. Think about the discourse we see between people. Think about the ugliness in the media. Think about the destruction from the peaceful rallies that turned into riots. Think about the stories of violence. Take our society and the anger, take the arguments, and take the different views on politics, which is interesting because politics has truly become the new religion. Either we vote the same and pray to the same gods or we fight and we argue like terrible enemies.
Think about the worldwide pandemic. Think about all of this as well as the loved ones we’ve lost. Think about the mournful regard that has almost become desensitized because losing people to an untimely death has sadly become the new normal.
These are facts but how do we find a benefit in this?
First, one fact is the stigmas that cover depression and mental health challenges have been at least temporarily forgotten. More and more, we see that the separation has increased the common levels of personal anxiety. We are all lonely but no one is alone with this. We are all going through something. All of us are experiencing an unexpected and uncomfortable change in our daily lifestyle.
Aside from the financial fears and concerns and aside for the unsureness of our future, plus, add the strange new normal of distance learning and public separation; add the new dynamics we face in our household as well as in the workplace; and now add the new restrictions in our public interactions; if we think about this, the one benefit is this has created a better understanding to personal struggles.
There is a benefit to mutual understanding. There is a benefit to the whole world going crazy. There is a benefit to the mutual understanding of trauma and traumatic disorders because now that we can mainly relate, perhaps we can learn to create conversations so we can be helpful to one another.
It is important that we understand how our emotional challenges present common difficulties. It is also important to understand that ideas and compulsion will often defy logic; that when we are stuck in a specific mindset, it is easy to give way to irrational concepts. It is easy to give way to impulsion when we are not at our best. And moreover, it is easy to slip down that slippery slope of quick fixes and less responsible decisions.
We are creatures of habit. The habits we choose are based on ways to comfortably help us navigate through our daily lives.
For example, we leave our keys in certain places. But why? The answer is so we know where they are. This way we don’t have to climb the walls, scour the apartment or rip apart the couches in our home to find them.
Have you ever placed your keys somewhere unusual? Have you ever misplaced your wallet or put the remote to your television somewhere other than their usual spot? Better yet, have you ever misplaced your cell phone? What happens?
You look around the home. You retrace your last steps. Next, you become frantic.
You check the pockets in your jacket. If you wear a purse, maybe you check there. I’ve even opened the refrigerator door, just in case, I accidentally placed the lost item on the shelf in my fridge.
The surge of anxiety rises to the next level.
Eventually, you find your wallet or your keys or your phone to which, at last, you feel relieved. Perhaps you forgive yourself for cursing the world or blaming someone who might have stolen it. And you acknowledge when you find it that you left this where you don’t usually put your things. You acknowledge that for the moment, you were experiencing a form of temporary insanity.
In a small and simpler way, this is both a mental and emotional challenge. This is something nearly everyone can relate to. The fear of loss; the anxiety of misplacing something important and the worry that we will lose our usual means of comfort is enough to drive anyone crazy.
Okay, so what if our fears are based on bigger losses that are not attached to tangible items. More than losing our phone or our wallet, what about losing people in our life? What would happen to our levels of anxiety if we were missing other methods that contribute to our daily comfort. With life being tossed in different directions to leave us facing backwards and upside down, what happens?
There is the idea of change, or better yet, there is an idea about the fears of change. Why do we fear change?
One could certainly argue that comfort means everything. Or more to the point, our habitual life depends upon our patterns, rituals and comforting routines that we use on a daily basis to find our best source of personal stability..
This is why we create our little patterns throughout the day. Routines and patterns are built for convenience. We have developed a language to understand, communicate, and express or thoughts and concerns.
Our patterns and ideas are based on trained pathways and experiences. But wait, due to the pandemic, our paths and our means of convenience have all changed. We can all relate to this.
Our schedules have been changed. Our routines and gatherings have changed. Even the way we shop for food is based on a new normal.
The people in our circles of influence have scattered and became physically distant. This left us all with a sense of loss and isolation. We are more virtual now than visceral or physically personal.
Meetings have been taken over by technology. Social media has become the editors of beliefs and opinions. Free speech is no longer allowed. Instead, free speech depends upon the crowd we’re in. Free speech is only free if it fits the preferred narrative of the group, in which case, so long as your speech fits the agenda then of course, you are free to speak freely. Otherwise, be prepared to fight to the death.
Should your political opinion differ or should your narrative differ in any way, the backlash and the bullying for different mindsets or alternative beliefs are brutal and punishing to say the least. This is also a fact that is abundantly clear.
There have been riots throughout the world. The rates of suicide have climbed higher. Overdoses are on the rise and alcohol related deaths are climbing as well. There are more people that die from obesity in a year than both overdoses and alcohol related deaths combined. Cigarettes still kill people in record numbers. Heart disease, strokes and cancer are still a major threat to our health concerns. Now, add Covid to the mix.
First and foremost, we are creatures of habit. But our habits have been faced with unexpected changes. Our lives have been put on lock-down. We are a species that need to make sense of a life when our life defies logic. None of what has happened in the last year is anything that makes sense. And since we can all agree that times are scary and uncertain, then we can all understand what it means to have a mental or emotional challenge. This is why I used the analogy of misplacing our phone. Only, we’ve misplaced the last ten months, wondering about this pandemic and when or if we will ever get out of this mess.
We are all unique as individuals. We all have our own life and our own circles of influence We each have our own circumstances. Except, at our core, we all want comfort. All we want is peace.
The one fact is we are all going through something difficult right now. The best benefit is if we can learn to relate then we can understand that our differences are not as important as the fact that all we want is to get back to our old routines again.
So we can get back to our life.