Motherhood, Resilience and Social Conflict.
With the country, and indeed several other countries, facing such an uproar and tumultuous time, many people will look to their mothers for support. Not only that, mothers and women have been taking an active approach in the social change. What we have seen is the calming and strong positive effect that moms have had.
Truth is, moms are and will always be the refuge for many of us. I am taking this time to celebrate each and everyone one of you moms and moms-to-be. Moms held this country together when it was falling apart throughout the civil war and will continue to do so. And while we contribute all of our love, compassion, thoughtfulness, wisdom, courage, and mercy, we must not forget to also focus on ourselves.
Where we are right now is not different than other mothers who are living in conflict. With that in mind, let us examine the unique challenges of motherhood in conflict. Conflicts in society, especially when they are close in proximity to families, usually have a negative impact on mothers with increased likelihood of depression and anxiety symptoms. They are more likely to not be able to cope well, and that usually affects them, their families and children.
The other aspect of motherhood affected is the relationship with your children. Not only are they affected negatively by the conflict, but their relationship with you suffers with less care, less attention, more angst, more anxiety, less tolerance, and more propensity for things to become intolerable. The other effect that conflict has is on materialistic and economical status, and all its stressors and consequent worries. So how, as mothers, can we face these challenges and support our families?
The culmination of many things I have talked about cannot be overstated or accentuated when it comes to taking care of yourselves. This is the time when you need to be resilient, or by definition, adaptive to and thriving in change. Everything you might have been practicing or know would affect you positively need to be outlined. At the same time, you are surrounded with negativity all around and you know what your negative triggers or factors are, and those need to be outlined also.
There is no way I can discuss resilience at length here, so I will simply talk about a few things. I found the resource from the American Psychological Association as helpful in outlining steps for resilience. They are:
- Make connections,
- Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems,
- Accept that change is a part of living,
- Move toward your goals,
- Take decisive actions,
- Look for opportunities for self-discovery,
- Nurture a positive view of yourself,
- Keep things in perspective,
- Maintain a hopeful outlook,
- Take care of yourself.
The other concept I would like to outline is the concept of the “Circle of Influence”. You are familiar with the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”
According to Stephen Covey’s book, what will help you is to identify the things that are in:
- Circle of focus: Things you have immediate control over (What to buy, dress, talk to your children…)
- Circle of Influence: things in your immediate surrounding that have an effect on your life: Income, street violence near you, other family members …
- Circle of Concern: Things you care about but have little impact on like the climate change, the political environment, the banking system and money issue…
By focusing on what you can control, and helping your family focus on what they can control, you will be able to conserve your energy, be able to focus on things you can have an impact on and cope in this ever-changing environment.
Although these are only two steps or two measures, practicing them may help you not only survive, but thrive in this challenging environment.
Stay STRONG, stay SAFE, and stay WELL!
God be with you and all of us.
By, Dr. Zeina Ghossoub, Professional Certified Coach, President @ ICF Lebanon Chapter.
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