The answer is a probably a bit of both. I recently edited a text meme on Instagram, you can see it below. So many people responded positively and were grateful for the incentive to give themselves permission to be gentle with themselves. Some people got a bit fired up and assumed I was advocating complacency and stagnancy. There can be a middle, people; thinking dialectically is a skill and a useful one at that.
Dialectical thinking is the idea that two opposing or conflicting concepts can exist simultaneously. It is a balance of opposites.
When it comes to the pandemic we are currently navigating, this type of thinking can help us reframe the situation. I recently offered several free mental health workshops to support the community and start a conversation about mental health during this time. I start the workshop with this concept of reframing. Reframing the way we think about a situation can be a way to uncover new solutions and change our reactions.
“If a problem can't be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.”
― Brian McGreevy
In the case of our current situation, reframing means taking a different stance on the challenges we are facing. The problem to solve is not our emotions but our reactions to these emotions. Our emotions themselves are entirely valid and we need to feel them and process them to arrive to solution-mode.
Here are some tips for reframing certain challenges we may be facing. These will help assuage the undue pressure we are putting on ourselves in several aspects of our lives.
Fitness & body Image:
See the value in our body for its utility and what it does for us as opposed to looks
Remember that we are facing obstacles to fitness like lack of space, equipment and coaching
Try switching to a fitness activity that is less focused on numbers and performance, like dance or yoga
See the value in yourself for your character as opposed to your output and what your produce
Set goals and don’t abandon accomplishments but re-evaluate them to consider rest, mood and the tools and environment available to you
Remember we are all processing and focusing on taking care of ourselves and our loved ones
Start your day with one thing you are grateful for
Acknowledge your fears and worries but remember the good in the situation
Share gratitude with others to promote connection and life your mood
Reframing our thoughts and our situation can be difficult. Getting accustomed to dialectical thinking can be as well. But with some work you’ll get the hang of it. Any personal work or development is difficult, but it’s definitely worth it.