America Divided: How to Navigate through Anxiety, Fear, & the Unknown

1. Acknowledge the Issues: My gosh, there is just so much going on in this world. It is heartbreaking, frustrating, but also liberating. As tough as the times continue to be, there are so many opportunities for us to speak up, speak out, share our stories, laugh, cry, grow, and make history. But that is a whole lot of things, right? Yep, and it can be so overwhelming, even to the point where we sometimes want to hide under the covers and ignore everything. I have been there, and if you are being honest with yourself, then you have experienced this too. Now, self-care and turning off all the negativity is needed; however, it is important for us to acknowledge what is going on in the world. We are needed. Our voices are needed.

2. Search Within: We have all heard that it is an inside job. I used to wish so badly that it was an outside job where people can fix me, tell me the answers, and take away the pain. I thought that was part of your loved ones’ job. Now, it is their job to support you, but the rest time out to get to know you, your values and beliefs, then and only then, can you start to trust and believe in yourself. When this happens, it is an absolute beautiful transformation. This is when you can go within and ask yourself the tough questions.

3. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions: Whew! This is a tough one, literally and figuratively. When we must face ourselves, it is a harsh reality. And then we are expected to unlearn and relearn some of our thoughts and behaviors. Ummmmm… can I opt out of this please and thank you? But seriously, it is vital for us to do this. At some point in our lives, if we choose not to put in the work, we will be forced to. Life has a funny way of bringing us back to ourselves. So, take it upon yourself to do the hard work now. You deserve to live an authentic life that you are proud of. Give yourself that gift. You are worth it!

4. Open Up Dialogue and Lend an Ear: For a very long time and it still happens, I was scared to have dialogue with others about hard subjects. I grew up in a time and place where the tough topics where the parents’ problem to bear. I believe that they thought it was best for kids to be kids and in our best interest, but at some point, it is important to teach open and honest dialogue. It is vital for people to be able to voice their opinions and feel safe and not judged by their loved ones. When this does not happen, it allows for kids to grow up and
feel fear and unsafe to speak up and to speak out. This in turn allows for people to not have feel comfortable in their own skin and with their own thoughts. After a while, the build-up will cause toxic coping mechanisms including staying silent. This needs to change, and this is the time that we need to be brave and stand up for what we believe. The first step is learning and advocating for yourself, and next, it is the ability to advocate for others.

5. Take Action: Yes! It is all about the follow-through. I have noticed that this is one of the most difficult things to do. Now, do not get me wrong, all of the rest of this is no walk in the park. But making plans and talking about things are great, but if we do not take action, then we cannot make the changes. And that is what really counts. I know it is difficult and you are scared. If anyone knows this, it is me, for real though. But remember, we must take those final steps. Even when we are scared, we must do it anyways. We will be scared, but it is
outweighed by our bravery and the change that is needed. You can do this. I know you can!

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