Man, the world is weird right now. Sure, we’ve all laughed at the ever-changing guidelines, the uncertainty around existing guidelines and which ones to follow, and how our world will never be the same (perhaps it’s a coping mechanism, but I digress). We’ve wondered when – or if – we’ll ever be able to go somewhere without masks. We’ve been uncertain about whether we’d be comfortable leaving the house without masks. We’ve had nightmares about loved ones losing their battle to the virus. We’ve been worried we might get it ourselves.
But then things seem to settle and life goes on. You create new routines. You get into a new groove. And just when you think you get a handle on things, something changes again. You lose control of the situation, again.
It’s hard to stay positive and confident in a COVID world.
Let me tell you a story that put a lot of this into perspective.
My middle son was talking to my Mom on the phone. As is the norm now, it was a video chat, so he was walking around with the phone, showing her what he was playing with and talking about what he was going to do for the rest of the day. My Mom asked him if he would like to play at her house soon. He paused for the briefest of moments as he looked at me and said, “I’d like to, but we have to wear masks so we don’t get sick… it’s probably better if I just stay home for now. I think it makes more sense to just be home.”
I felt so many emotions. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Pride.
Never when I dreamed of being a mom, of raising my children, did I ever think of parenting in a pandemic and what that would feel like for me (as a parent) or my kids. Never did I think about the impact these rules and guidelines would have on such young kids. Never did it even occur to me that, despite the constant touch points with grandparents and friends and family through video chats and phone calls, relationships would be forever changed.
But perhaps the biggest realization is that through all of this, I noticed all of my boys were showing up confident to the world they live in. They are working on discovering their strengths and flexing those what-else-can-I-try muscles. I was seeing their resilience, their ability to move with whatever life was sending them.
Though my heart broke hearing him talk about the need for masks and how it’s safer to just stay home, my heart was equally as proud. He was confident and adaptable. He didn’t see it as a problem or a challenge; life is what it is.
And this little boy continues to remind me that there is so much to learn from kids who have yet to be negatively influenced with the anxiety and fear that seems to fill an adult’s mind.
The confidence we choose to have each day, the way we decide to show up in every aspect of our lives, is so easily impacted by external forces.
But what if we decided, instead, to adapt to change and not fight it? To acknowledge when we can and can’t control a situation and to manage ourselves and our response to it? Life never promises an easy road. It does, however, give us plenty of opportunities to use strengths we never knew we had.
So, to be confident in a COVID world means recognizing what you do and don’t have control over. It’s about committing to being yourself and knowing that you are already equipped with everything you need to navigate life’s road, the smooth ones and the bumpy ones.
When you find yourself getting frustrated that things are still not “back to normal,” take a deep breath and ask yourself: is this something I can control? If it is, then ask yourself: what can I do to fix it?
If it’s not within your control, ask yourself: how can I learn to be flexible, resilient and not fight with life?
Your confidence will grow as you learn to appreciate life as it is, celebrating the good times and using the tough times to grow, learn and develop into a stronger, wiser and more resilient you.
Continue reading A Lesson from Kids: Finding the Good