You might be feeling lonely, powerless, and unsure about what lies ahead. In the last few weeks, I’ve felt this way, and so has my wife — and you may have too. And that’s perfectly fine.
The author Jim Collins coined a term called the Stockdale Paradox. It’s named after Admiral James Stockdale, who spent 8 years as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam and experienced horrific treatment, including long periods of solitary confinement, torture, and starvation. Stockdale survived by accepting the reality of his situation, without ever losing hope that he would make it through. He explained it this way:
You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
I’ve been reflecting on his words over the last few days. While I believe we’ll all get through this — and come out stronger — I’m also focused on where I’m at and what I need to do to take care of myself given the current reality.
For me, it means a few things. It means I’ve increased my weekly therapy session to 3 times a week. It means I schedule a group FaceTime chat with all my siblings every few days. And it means exercising every day and trying to get 30 minutes of sunshine.
This is a tough time for everyone and no one knows when it will end. But we’re all in this together. Believe we’ll get through this, but also accept that things are tough right now. Give yourself what you need, whether it’s exercise, video calls with family and friends, or some extra downtime.
And when you have those low moments (which means you’re human), as my therapist always reminds me, show yourself a little more self-love and compassion.
Stay healthy and strong!
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