The Last Four Years

How resilience goes hand-in-hand with social responsibility.

Posted Jan 11, 2021

Most of us would agree that with the pandemic, the last year has been difficult. And many would say that with the present administration, the last four years have been difficult and more difficult than they should've been. How do we recover?

I believe the key to recovery is perspective. Being able to see the big picture. To do this we need to first deal with our feelings. The pandemic — and for many, the last four years — has brought up many strong feelings. Strong feelings, however, can keep us from thinking clearly. We need to manage the feelings that we have. That means talking with others and not just with those who agree with us.

Most of all, we need to begin to realize that the situation we are currently in is not permanent. This too will pass. There will be better times ahead. The pandemic has affected many parts of our lives. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have lost a job or a business. And unfortunately, a large number of people have lost their lives. But for most of us, the effect of the pandemic has not been pervasive. Much has not changed. We need to realize what we still have rather than looking entirely at what we have lost.

Indeed, we need to hold people accountable for their actions or lack of action. Undoubtedly many lives were lost that should not have been lost. But blaming, I think, is a waste of energy. We need to be focused on the present and the future, not the past. Staying focused on what was rather than what can be will not move us forward. We need to act on our values, deal with our strong feelings, and be confident that we can create a better future.

We need to take care of ourselves and our families, but we also need to take care of others who may not agree with us. Social responsibility is a value that this country needs to practice again. The good that this country has accomplished in the world has much to do with our ability to see the bigger picture and to be concerned with the lives of others.

Now a word about post-traumatic growth. Yes, there is such a thing. The old saying that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true. There is now empirical research to back this concept up. This may be the reward for surviving the last four years. Those who go through traumatic experiences in many cases develop the skills and the attitudes of resilience that we have discussed in this blog in the past.

There is much to be learned in a crisis and our country certainly has been in crisis. Eastern religions realized this many years ago. The Chinese symbol for crisis is also the symbol for opportunity. Take this opportunity to learn new skills and attitudes that you can use in the future and practice the ones you already possess.