Who Will You Choose to Be During COVID-19?
by Dr. Tamer Issa, PT, DPT
In any challenging life situation, there is one thing I know for sure (from some painful experiences of my own), you ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE in how you decide to respond to it, live with it, be with it. Many of us are facing a challenging life situation right now as we deal with our lives being turned upside-down due to the steps that have been taken to fight this virus. People are hurting emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually.
But I am here to remind you that you have a CHOICE in how you choose to deal with the next couple of months of upheaval and uncertainty. Ask yourself this question... who do I want to be when I come out on the other side of this time?
Some will fall into despair and fall victim to being more unhealthy and unwell. Some will see this as an opportunity to grow and be better versions of themselves in the end. I came across this diagram this week and I can credit Barbara Flaherty Strittmatter for it. I had to share it because there is so much value in it.
Who Do I Choose to Be During the COVID-19?
Let me break it down for you...
The Fear Zone
Let's take a look at what many people were doing and feeling initially and maybe even still today... the Fear Zone.
- I search and share EVERYTHING I can find about COVID-19
- I get irritated easily
- I panic buy
- I act like a victim looking to blame
- I hoard toilet paper, food and medicines I don't need
Can you see yourself and others in this? I know that I can... I have felt it and done it. It's normal because we are very susceptible right now to living in fear. When we are afraid, our primal instinct is to survive. We want to feel safe and that is why we do some of these irrational things. We will do anything we can to feel safer... more certain. It's okay to be here, but it's harmful to stay living here. It will have negative consequences on your health... and your spirit. Let's look at the next phase.
The Learning Zone
- I start to let go of control
- I stop consuming that which causes me harm, from the news to what I eat and drink
- I make a program for myself to make use of the time
- I recognize that everyone is doing their best whilst facing an extremely complicated situation
- I look for opportunities
How do you feel already after reading these statements? My guess is a little bit better. Why? Because it has to do with learning, accepting, forgiving. I love the first statement "I start to let go of control". This is the cornerstone of many eastern philosophy teachings. LET GO... you can't carry the burden of this virus on your shoulders. This is a transition phase where you can start to accept the situation and your shortcomings, where you can stop blaming others for what they should have done or how they should be behaving. This is also the place where you start gaining some control of what you can control. Now let's look at the last phase.
The Growth Zone
- I think about others and how I can be of help
- I live in the NOW, with a clear picture of what's NEXT
- I am not in a waiting room or "in-between" stage in life. THIS IS LIFE.
- Be appreciative. Be grateful.
This where you want to end up. Having gone through the storm, learned the lessons that needed to be learned, and come out of the other side; better... better than where you started. This is a place of presence, a place to have the capacity to serve others, a place of gratitude... a place of personal growth and enlightenment.
Where do you predominately see yourself right now? Where do you want to bein in 2-3 months? What steps can you take to move to the next phase? I encourage you to take the time to think about these questions. Journal about it. Talk to your friends and loved ones about it. The time you spend doing that will be a tremendous help to you. It's normal to fluctuate between these phases, what's important is to keep moving forward through them.
Some of us will get stuck in the Fear Zone for the entire time. I hope that is not the case for you. I hope that you find the courage and the strength to learn and grow during this challenging time. I ask you one last time... Who Will You Choose to Be During COVID-19? Remember, it's your CHOICE. I hope you choose a path to a better version of yourself.