Mar | 2020

30th

Monday

Using COVID-19 to Find Greater Meaning in Your Life

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There is a famous saying among politicians: “Never let a crisis go to waste”.  Politicians know that during a crisis people are more apt to make changes they may not have made otherwise.

Politics aside, you have the power to use COVID-19 as a tool to make critical and LASTING personal changes; changes you otherwise would not have made if life continued as it had been. Don’t let this crisis go to waste! And spread the word to others:  this remarkable time period can be a generator of positive change, as well as a devastating event…

After being a Tucson, Arizona based psychologist and counselor, counseling over 1000 people through various kinds of crises, including severe trauma, I am reminded of the fact that often the most difficult experiences are the ones from which we learn – and grow – the most.  The coronavirus known as COVID-19 is that kind of historically epic experience that can transform millions of people for the better. 

This is not to say there will not be a large amount of death, economic loss, and psychological despair.  There will be!  And the profound effects of these losses cannot be put into words and will leave lasting wounds.  We will all be called to work as a Community to mourn our losses with Respect, Empathy, and Courage.  Onward and upward we must go, carrying forward our Best Selves, evolving as we go.  We either evolve or we devolve. 

The most meaningful life is not a consistently happy life.  The wisest people have been wounded, sometimes severely.  It is the difficulty that crises bring that can inspire us to dig deeper than we ever have, going to extraordinary depths within ourselves, realizing we are more voluminous than we could have imagined.  But realize you or your child’s limits, and accept you may need to reach out to a counselor, therapist, or Mentor.  As a psychologist, I have received many calls from people who were seeking to better define their future.

Just as athletes often remember turning points in their athletic careers after profound losses, humans competing in the arena of life often look back at crises as turning points.  It is so ironic that what makes us mature the most – and, in fact, accelerates growth – are the most difficult experiences. Look back on your own life and appreciate how your most difficult experiences also forced you to grow the most.  

We are now face-to-face with possible death, any one of us could die from COVID-19. 

The question is, with this nagging reality in front of us, what do we do with that?  The easy route is to distract oneself from reality and binge-watch news shows or maybe abuse substances. The less-traveled path involves reflecting on what you can learn from COVID 19, so you use this momentous historical period to rise to the challenge of finding Greater Meaning in life. 

The best route is to accept the reality of NOW, and use this starkness to strip your life down to its bare essence; who are you at your core?  Are you happy with who you are? What change do you need to make?  If your answer is you don’t need to make any changes, you are lost!  

As life has slowed down for most of us, this is the perfect opportunity to reach insights as what is most important about life becomes clearer as all of the minutiae fade away against a lens where we see life and death every day on the news. 

Example of using COVID-19 to your benefit: There are millions of people who will be out of work due to Covid-19, and a very large part of humanity will rethink their previous work and have the courage to reimagine what they really want to do with their life.  They will choose a more Meaningful Way to earn money. 

Make no mistake: humans can thrive on chaos, but it takes a future-focused mindset.  You can use COVID-19, instead of letting it use you up. 

The choice is yours:  succumb to anxiety and distress, or take this COVID-19 Bull by the Horns, and strike out on a path of Greater Meaning.  If you don’t know what that path of greater meaning is and you are stuck in anxiety or distress, reach out to a professional, such as a counselor, therapist or mentor you can trust.

My recent blog on 12 questions to ask a potential Counselor, Therapist, or Mentor.

But there is a path waiting for you.  You simply need to take the first step. 

Other blogs you may want to read to find greater meaning:

Personality derailers

Counselors using “deeper” Scientific Tools  

Help your child find their most important Mentor

Thomas Brunner, Tucson Counselor

6 Overlooked Reasons to see a Counselor


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