Keeping the Faith

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It’s been a very troubling time for the US, and for the world really, this past year or so.  Not that the world and the country didn’t have plenty of problems before then, but for me, and for many others, things feel as if they have gotten much worse in recent months.

So today I wanted to talk a little bit about how I’ve been keeping the faith and what I mean by that.  Keeping the faith doesn’t have anything to do with religion the way I’m using it today.  Keeping the faith can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, so I want to lay out what I mean before I get into how I’m doing it right now.

I have faith in a lot of things in my life.  I have faith that electricity will keep flowing through the power grid.  I have faith that I’ll make it through the day.  I have faith in the institutions that I rely on every day.  I have faith that my husband, my family, and my friends will still be around and still care for me.  I have faith in my country.  So when I say, keeping the faith, I mean retaining that faith that the world will keep turning, things will keep happening, and that life will go on (mostly) uninterrupted.

It may be a little idealistic and simplistic, but I believe that the world is going to continue to get better, and when it looks like that isn’t how things are going, it can shake my faith in not just this belief, but a lot of other things as well, and that means I’m not doing so well at keeping the faith.

Here is how I combat that:

I read.

Yes, this is escapism.  Yes, when overdone escapism can be problematics, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad all the time.  I love to read about new places to visit, and interesting things in math, science, history and a variety of other topics.  I also love to read fiction.  I especially love anything with a triumphant or happy ending, or something that shows good triumphing over evil in any small way.  I read in almost all genres of fiction and a wide variety of non-fiction genres too.

I write.

Writing lets me escape as well, but it also gives me control.  When I’m writing, I have complete control over the setting, characters, and plot.  I say when something bad will happen and how the characters will work through it.  I have complete control of my own writing.  This gives me a space of comfort within a world where I have very little control.

I find the good, the beautiful, and the humorous.

Whether it’s a feel good story about a neighborhood banding together to help a neighbor who needs it, amazing pictures of nature or space, adorable cat pictures, or a hilarious comic, I go out seeking stories and imagery that promote positive feelings.  You can spot a bad night/day/hour in my life by the sudden spam of cute cat photos on my twitter account.  It doesn’t happen often, but a binge of cute cats can make me feel a bit better about whatever it is that’s making me lose faith at that moment.

I see a therapist.

And I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Everyone needs a little help sometimes.  If you have a family member, friend, or coworker who can stand in as sounding board and councilor to help you get back on track when things aren’t going your way, awesome.  I’m glad for you.  I have those people too, but sometimes talking to them can just mean more stress for them too and then what’s the point?  So I have a therapist.  Someone I can talk to about anything and know that it’s okay.  Whether it’s money troubles, worry about my husband, a work issue, or whatever.  Having a safe space that is completely judgement-free and confidential helps me work through tough places in my life.

I remind myself of what is going right in the world.

I look for the good things.  The doctors saving lives, the neighbors banding together to protect one another, the outpouring of support at airports when the travel ban was signed, and so many other smaller things.  Finding evidence that some things are going right when it feels like everything is going wrong can be really helpful.  These kinds of stories are uplifting and they help me remember why I have faith in the first place.

That’s how I keep the faith in my own life.  How do you buoy yourself up and help yourself keep the faith in your own life?

I hope everyone out there is keeping the faith in whatever ways they know best.