The COVID-19 and the resultant pandemic, along with the lock-down has had a all of us cooped up in our homes. During the interim, I had a number of online sessions. Interacting with the YOUth across the spectrum, if there is one thing that stood out for me, it would be how the YOUth adapted/ adopted to this period. In a vast number of cases it had to do with uncertain future, demotivation, anxiety, job loss and resultant stress/ depression.
Some of the words (and the resultant emotions) had to do with the economy (depressed), psychological impact (negative), anxiety, fatigue, stress, suicide and so on and so forth. While, some of us saw it differently; opportunity to connect with family, a healthy lifestyle (and hygiene), environment (and its positive impact, with lesser emissions/ green house/ ozone layer), connect with nature (pets & plants). In a number of cases, it was how you looked (and handled) the issue.
I believe that a lot of this has to do with your “self talk“. What do you tell yourself? What do you tell yourself when you are faced with a situation/ challenge/ issue/ problem? Some of the chatter (inside your head) is what you’ve heard over the years – your parents, your elders, your teachers. This goes a long way to pattern your thinking. While growing up, if you’ve been constantly told that “you cannot do it” or “it’s beyond you” or similar words, its a belief system that takes shape in your mind.
There are a number of ways to overcome this writing in your head. It starts with your self talk. In school, we had a prayer (early mornings) and the lyrics went something like this: Humko man ki shakti dena, man vijay kare, Dusaron ke jai se pehele, khudhko jai kare. [Oh God, Grant us inner strength to be victorious over our minds, Before victory over others, may we gain victory over ourselves.] In those halcyon days, we never understood the deeper meaning of the passage.
Each day, early morning, what do you tell yourself. Of course, there will be challenges. Of course there will be ambiguity. Of course, things will not move as you want them to OR as you planned it to be. In the uniform, we said, “If you plan for three options, be sure the enemy will adopt the fourth”. So be it. Do you give up? That is not an option.
So your self talk should be on something on these lines. ” XYZ you are good. You’ve always been good. Look at your results (and recollect some of the wonderful achievement of yours). You can do it. Yes, there have been times, when you could not do it due to … but having addressed that, there is no reason for you to fail. Let give it a try.” Thoughts on similar lines, would also help.
Unless you believe in yourself, fat chance, that the world will believe in you. Unless you radiate confidence, slim chance, that the world will feel confident around you. Unless you demonstrate peace, calm and in control, people around you will panic. It begins with YOU.
Post-pandemic the one question you need to ask yourself is: Will I come out stronger OR will I come out weaker?