The year 2020 – a turning point of tremendous social challenge.
We arrive at this point in our collective unfolding following several decades of a mostly careless mainstream narrative (still) aimed at conveying a progressive sense of normalcy.
Clearly, there’s massive volatility buried within any sense of what “normal” is.
There’s also enormous danger in normalcy bias – which is defined as a cognitive or psychological state of denial of threat or danger, in which people underestimate the significance or presence of a disaster, and generally expect a return to normal.
We’re facing change. Rightly so. Wise encouragement suggests – let’s make the changes as positive as possible.
Yet, this dynamical narrative to perpetuate a sense of a normal world – while inequalities and unhealthiness spread more and more pervasively throughout society – stems from an archaic unsympathetic worldview. Its advocates are entirely questionable.
Yet the role or presence of “bad actors” or deceitful politics isn’t the topic of this article. The focus of this article is perspective empowerment. Its aim is to offer encouragement and to explore the parallel between the personal and social accounts of the value of transformation through times of change.
Generally, a sustained sense of “normal” doesn’t account for change, transformation, or evolution. And when any sense of what “normal” is, is constituted with harmful, unconscious elements – breaking points will be reached that command change.
Socially, we’re there. As individuals, we’re there as well.
These sorts of times of change often coincide with stress, tension, and turbulence. From this, we could ask, is it necessary for change to unfold this way?
Perhaps the more important question is – how do we best achieve positive transformation through times of change? And, is it possible that there are methods that can promote growth, rather than just turmoil through change?
Life, as individuals and as a collective society, requires care and deliberate engagement with necessary opportunities in order for growth to unfold in a healthy way. In other words, it’s intentional action that drives change – or, more importantly – that drives positive change.
It’s when there’s a lack of deliberate engagement with necessary opportunities for growth that we encounter the volatility of normal. Because existing patterns that form a sense of “normal” can be blinding to the need for adaptation, transformation, and evolution. And this volatility becomes more and more exaggerated if there remains a consciousness and concerted effort to sustain a certain narrative of normal.
What do we mean by “necessary opportunities for growth?”
Let’s draw some relevant individual : social parallels. On an individual level, necessary opportunities for growth could center around a manner of someone’s lifestyle habits. If those “normal” habits impose a constant pattern of stress, inflammation, and toxic accumulation within their body, they’re prone to disease and unfortunate health episodes at some point. In this case, those lifestyle habits are the necessary opportunities for growth.
Likewise, on a societal level, when a society’s civil enforcement and media habits turn a blind eye to brutality and corruption, we’re prone to acts of social dissent, protests, and revolt. And perhaps the current circumstances are actually worse than just turning a blind eye – as many attentive citizens perceive antagonism, deception, and foul play.
These acts of revolt, whether within the life of an individual or collectively socially, are natural outcomes for a lack of appropriate response to the signs for the need for change given along the way.
Encouragement to transcend these dynamics stems from a mindfulness that is caring. Practical. And necessary.
For those inclined and intentional to support positive growth through our times of change, we need to turn our attention toward our opportunities. We need to effectively ask what our opportunities are. To listen. To care. And especially not to turn a blind eye to existing turmoil and harm.
To become more engaged, proactively and positively, I can ask myself, “What are my opportunities right now as an individual? How can I be more honest with myself, and with others, more attentive, more deliberate, more compassionate, more healthy? What leads to more thriving? And what can I contribute?”
We needn’t all become heroes overnight. Rather, on a sincere and practical basis, our opportunities are based in earnestness.
Earnestness – is a robust quality of human beings that is described as being full of seriousness with purpose; sincerity in speech or action; eager; deliberate; characterized by seriousness in seeking or doing; intent; and diligent.
The world needs more individuals who will take hold of their lives earnestly.
And when, at times, the issues at-large seem daunting, we must turn our attention toward what best choices we can make that are within our control. To earnestly engage our lives. We are called to engage in what is more essential, perhaps most essential – our humanness.
Wise encouragement reminds us to honor our humanity. To accept our differences, while engaging in fair, honest, compassionate dialogue. We can note that advancement comes from progress in understanding, not from separation or hasty opposition.
Yet, at times the conditions around us call on us to rise to the occasion, whether we want to or not. Sometimes the only way is through. At these times, our earnestness is essential.
Sometimes our difficult choices require patience and gentleness. Sometimes persistence and tenacity. Often, they require new learning, transcending the old “normal,” while accepting and believing strongly in ourselves, and cultivating the ability of commitment in new action.
We will not all respond equally as well to challenges – individually or socially.
But for many of us, voices of encouragement matter. We can look to our great leaders of challenging times – those who did their best to encourage the best in humanity. We can visit their capacities of patience, gentleness, persistence, and tenacity. We can summon our own voices for love, honor, and equal opportunity.
Many will be mute to their individual opportunities. As well as to our collective. Many will be aggressively polarized, opinionated, and over-reactive. Yet, some will focus on the opportunities. Some of us will cultivate greater earnestness, because life demands it.
A final encouragement –
Go boldly my friends. With the power love in your hearts, and emboldened tenacity in your will.