Finding the silver lining in 2020


Lojuanda Weary/The Lion's Roar

One could say, “With the death of George Floyd, protests and riots, a world-wide pandemic, suffering economy and countless other tragedies, the world is currently in shambles.” 

One could also say, “People are coming together to fight against police brutality and are making historical changes. We have been given the opportunity to slow down enough to appreciate things we usually pass by. We are learning to reinvent ourselves in ways we have never seen before amidst circumstances we have never experienced.”

I get it. It is super easy to become discouraged and lose faith in humanity when you are so easily bombarded with bad news. Virtually, every media outlet has recently been showing the worst sides of humanity. I think it is extremely important to be informed about these events. However, I think it is also important to not let them destroy you.

During uncertain times like these, it is important to spend time off of social media. Being updated about the world is great, but becoming overly consumed with news can be more destructive than helpful. 

It is important during these times to feel all of your emotions and not dismiss them. The sadness, the fear, the anxiety – feel it all, and then shift your focus. After all, feelings demand to be felt. Doing things that let me feel my emotions helps get all of the negative thoughts out of my head, allowing more room for positive ones to take root. 

Creating art allows me to face my emotions. This includes a variety of things: making music, painting, dancing, cooking, gardening, etc. These activities let you feel your emotions in a safe way. If you can’t do any of those things, you can try meditating. There is nothing better than sitting in a quiet place, breathing deeply and observing your thoughts when you feel like falling apart. 

Another pick-me-up I find soothing is FaceTiming a friend who allows you to get things off your chest. All of these activities allow you to face your emotions and clear your head. 

After you have expressed yourself and have faced your emotions, change whatever it is that made you feel overwhelmed. I’m not saying you can go find the cure for the coronavirus or stop people from rioting. Change what you have control over. 

If scrolling through TikTok and seeing countless videos makes you feel miserable, limit the amount of time you spend scrolling. If it is a toxic family member you are stuck at home with, limit the amount of time you interact with them. You always have options. 

Informing yourself in moderation is good, but when you do things so much that they begin hurting you, then that is when it is time to take a step back and reevaluate if what you are doing is helping or harming you. 

I learned that where your attention flows, your energy goes. If you focus on the bad, you will see more of it. The same goes for the good stuff. Did something go wrong? That’s a bummer, but do not forget to look back at all the things that are going right. Practice gratitude. You’ll never run out of things to be thankful for if you look hard enough. 

The world is not an inherently bad place. Bad things happen, but the world is not bad. You could also say the world is not inherently a good place – good things happen, but the world is not good. The choice is yours.