A recap of the obvious. We are in the middle of a viral pandemic, being quarantined, the economy is suffering, social and other media confuses everybody, some people lost or might lose their jobs, others work around the clock, some risk their lives, some lost their investments, and so on.
The obvious news – you will be inevitably changed by this event, the bad news – it might not be an easy transition, and the good news – you have the power to choose how you will be changed.
I will stick to the good news because at any point in your life the ability to control the way you change is priceless, therefore worth mastering. It will help you to get out of any kind of a ditch you find yourself in, and it will help you to help others. Easier said than done you said? Not necessarily.
“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu
This pandemic quarantine even though being a global phenomenon is still an individual journey, and each of us will come out on the other side of it as a changed person. How changed – it is up to you.
We are going through this event as a humanity, as every day we are reminded of how very physically similar we are and how vulnerable and interdependent we are as well. It also uncovers how differently we all are experiencing it from an emotional standpoint.
Why is that?
- Take a few minutes and identify at least 3 emotions you are going through while coping with this situation day after day. (write it down)
Just stop for a moment, turn away from reading the pandemic news. Take a deep breath.
Perhaps you are one of these people who is now feeling anxious or sad.
Perhaps you are feeling stuck and helpless, confined in the reality of your household, and inability to generate income. Perhaps you are overwhelmed with responsibilities.
When in your life have you felt like this? It could have been a situation completely different from this one, but the feeling was very similar. You lived a life full of experiences and turning points, and things happened to you.
- What does it remind you of? Remember the times in your life you felt like this. (write it down)
Maybe it reminds you of a time you were stuck, restricted, not in control. Or some other time when you feel like you are feeling now.
Emotions tend to resurface when one event triggers the set of certain feelings you had in the past. These feelings were associated with another event that might have been similar to this one. The impact of it was so strong that it shaped the way you make sense of what is going on.
Past events, or rather the way we processed past events, affects the way we deal with current situations. Your mind is like a computer that creates associations between the past and present and makes all sorts of conclusions that make or don’t make sense at the present moment.
- What being quarantined represents in your life? (write it down)
You could be experiencing fears, worries, anxiety, frustration, and a thousand other emotions, and I assure you, it is not only normal, but it is also so very useful. How?
Emotions you are experiencing now, however strong and unpleasant they are, point to your core values. Values that are so important that you shape your life around them. These values are different for everybody. They are similar to the state of mind when you are feeling the flow, feeling satisfied.
Some of the core values I encountered were: peace, security, freedom, flexibility, fun, honesty, love, and many others. Yours will be different, and important to identify because they don’t change. They drive your life subconsciously, and the quickest way to take control of your mind is to know what is affecting it from within.
In normal circumstances you don’t think about it, it’s the extreme turning points in your life that call for self-evaluation. And it is only going to make you stronger.
- What are your 5 top core values? (write them down in the order of importance)
- How being quarantined affects these values?
- What can you do right now to address each of these values, one by one?
- What actions (existing or new), you can do right now, will be healthy and effective to satisfy each of these values? How can you start now, in these circumstances?
Everything in life is what we make out of it. In my international travels, I met people who live in poor conditions we cannot even imagine, and some of them find happiness in everyday life and yet some others don’t.
It’s not what we have or do that makes us happy, but the meaning we give to it, and our life in general.
Let’s look at this quarantine event not as to a life sentence, but as to a turning point. An external force creating an uncomfortable condition for you to grow as a person. To be stronger, to be better, to be brighter.
It is an opportunity to assess your current situation, evaluate your life, recognize your values, remember your achievements, and celebrate what is there to celebrate.
The end of something is always the beginning of something else. If you cling to what was before you will miss what is coming next. And you can create what is coming next if you act deliberately. You can be the creator of your life if you decide to be.
I believe in you. I believe you can get stronger, more authentic, more in tune with your core values. I believe you can create your life. It might not be easy, but you can use your imagination at first and create it in your mind. You can write it, draw it, sing it, whatever it is that makes it real in your imagination.
Avoid getting stuck in undesired reality, rather start creating something beautiful to shift to a different one. A different life.
The life where you are happy.
Dr. Maya SarkisyanApril 23, 2020