In case you don’t know me, I was terminated from my public school teaching job earlier this year. My termination was made public in a rather cruel way, and it was demoralizing, if not degrading. Yes, my 2020 has been a real treat (note the sarcasm).
But considering the circumstances, I’m doing pretty well. Do I miss my students a lot, and has this been an extremely difficult time? Of course! Nevertheless, I was made for this. I’ve been to hell and back more times than I can count, and because of it, I’ve long believed I can get through anything.
In light of worldwide tumult due to COVID-19, it occurred to me I have helpful thoughts to share since every rough time I’ve been through was accompanied by a large dose of uncertainty, including my current situation.
There are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with uncertainty. After making many mistakes in my attempts to cope with uncertain times, I have a decent grasp on how to handle it. My hope is that you’ll read this blog post and learn from my mistakes.
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I got fired, I saw it coming. Two weeks prior, my intuition was screaming at me that something was wrong. I played out every scenario in my head, and I accepted I was getting sacked.
I didn’t handle this knowledge well though. See, I was so mentally focused on my impending doom that I forgot to take care of myself. I suffered because of it!
Put your health, mental health, and general well-being first, always.
This is often easier said than done, but it’s simply not something you can compromise.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
At the beginning of the school year, I introduced a motto to all of my classes, “Be kind, and lift up your voice,” the latter word functioning as an acronym:
I promptly forgot about this motto, as did my students, as I got caught up in overwhelm and work. In any case, it’s ironic considering when local news articles published unkind and untrue things about me, I felt like I didn’t have a voice anymore.
Truthfully, I didn’t have a voice.
The publication had been working on the story two days prior to contacting me for comment (during school hours, I might add). When I provided a statement, they cherry-picked it to make me even more voiceless.
Your voice is potentially your greatest asset.
People will make you feel like crap for using it or trying to use it, I guarantee it. But do not take for granted the influence you can have merely by expressing yourself. In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, use your voice to inspire people to be kind. Use it to educate people without instilling fear, and remember to be loving, first and foremost.
“Give voice to what you know to be true, and do not be afraid of being disliked or exiled. I think that’s the hard work of standing up for what you see.” – Eve Ensler
I’m only 27 years old, but I’ve experienced enough to know uncertainty is part of life. And I firmly believe the sooner we accept that, the better off we’ll be.
The important lesson here is to remember to thrive anyway.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an event unlike anything anyone living has ever experienced, and we should take it seriously. We’re in uncharted waters.
So, go back to the basics. Live by the golden rule, and as you do so, don’t forget to take care of yourself and be grounded, always remembering to use your voice for good.
We’re going to be okay.
© 2020 Kylie Pontius LLC