Being Is Overcoming – Rebecca Broad

I am writing this on day 23 of the UK’s lockdown. I’m not even going to attempt to guess where the UK is on the social distancing spectrum at your time of reading.

Allow me to bend the theme, Editor, if you will: overcoming adversity, though wonderfully inspirational, feels a way off at time of writing, at least personally.

You don’t need my column to know we’re smack bang in the midst of a crisis. That’s evident from the mortality stats and economic reports and every other story which spews from news sources, every day seemingly louder yet more tired than the day before. We haven’t even reached the much touted peak yet. We’re all just doing our best to make it through.

We are in adversity and so, right now, the focus is on survival. The actions we can control. Queueing far apart at the pharmacy. Isolating from loved ones. Thinking about how to replace income lost. Taking the actions required for our mental and physical health. Quarantining if symptoms appear. Grieving for those who have died.

Importantly: looking after ourselves, because no human can pour from an empty cup. Next: helping our colleagues and friends and family members who can’t fill their own cups. Now is the time for doing everything we can to help ourselves and others. Weaving an inspirational story of overcoming is far from mind.

And herein lies the magic of writing (of any creative expression, I suppose, though this is my medium); an unexpected learning, a realisation. I thought I was bending the theme by discussing being in adversity. But perhaps being is a way of overcoming. Step by step, day by day.

Every time we Skype the friend whose wedding was cancelled we overcome social isolation. Every time we deliver supplies to a stranger we overcome selfishness. Every time we cook a nice meal for ourselves we overcome the nagging voice which tries to convince us that we aren’t worth the effort.

Adversity never truly ends. We never completely overcome it. Long after the last Nightingale Hospital has been demolished, this crisis will continue to echo for generations. The impacts of lives and livelihoods lost. But in another way, just by being, by showing up to live our lives, we overcome a multitude of smaller adversities.

How are you being with yourself at this time of adversity? Tweet me at @RebeccaComms, or email I’d love to hear from you.

Written by Rebecca Broad
Photo by Creative Branding Photography

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