By Nik Lovaas, MS, LMFT | The Village Family Service Center
I hear the stories of pain and anguish. I see the struggles of financial hardships and distant relationships. The fear, hurt, and loss of identity are real. The struggle is real.
Many people are questioning how to manage through these times of uncertainty. It’s times like these where we can see the darkness in others. I’d rather strive for hope.
People say history tends to repeat itself. Well, we tend to repeat ourselves. We are creatures of habit, both good and bad. Our habits, unintentionally, can define who we are on a societal level. On an individual level, our habits tell a story – one that’s not always eager to be told, but one that needs to be heard.
Our stories reveal lessons that we’ve learned and others that we’ve forgotten. The forgotten, sometimes painful, stories are often hidden away from our own consciousness but are evident in our behaviors. Our primal instincts are genetically wired, evolving within the context of the human experience but ultimately functioning in a way that helps us survive. This can leave us stuck in a time loop. Even if we work to forget it, our bodies remember. But evolution gives us the ability to dream and maintain hope for something more and better – only if we work together.
We can make efforts to be the best version of ourselves despite our genetic code or our hidden stories. Our flaws can drive us apart or bring us together. We can run and hide, or we can accept and embrace one another.
We do not need to carry our burdens alone.
It is much easier to carry weight when it is dispersed among two people. So, when these times are trying, our worlds are changing, and our roles are coming into questions, we need to talk about it. We need to redefine ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves to try something new.
We can seize the moments as opportunities to try new roles and find ways to take better care of ourselves than we have. We can find ways to remove the distractions and bring forth meaning. We can find projects to work on, cook meals together, find new hobbies, take interest in each other’s likes and dislikes, play games, and laugh. We have the opportunity for change and the chance to be the person that we have sought out to be. Why not give it a try? It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
We can make memories rather than tragedies, and we have an obligation to remind each other of this each day.
Take some time to create a schedule for yourself, be more mindful of your health, develop new habits, drink more water, take vitamins/medications, and exercise. Take the time to sit back and reflect on the things you have always wanted to do but struggled to find the time. Reconnect with people you care about or miss, learn to love blindly, get to know your neighbor, get out and enjoy the sun, the rain, the air. Self-care is so vital to us and companionship is key. Whether we connect with others or enjoy the unconditional love of our pets.
We’re in this together.
That’s the mantra that I keep hearing and seeing in the world around me. That is my choice, to see what good can come. My obligation is to adjust, to be accountable, to make changes myself as I, too, adjust to an ever-evolving world.
Nik Lovaas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at The Village’s St. Cloud office. Nik is a Nationally Certified Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapist who provides individual, family, and couples counseling to serve the community. He specializes in treating kids and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.