Finding the Humor/the Silver Lining During Difficult Times

The year 2020 has proven to be the epitome of difficult times. Since January, much has been written about the many obstacles of that fateful year, but the reality is that we may all still be reeling from our experiences. Due to the significant effects of COVID-19, many of us have lost family members, friends, and job opportunities. Additionally, in this new space of our COVID reality, many of us may be battling virtual fatigue, social isolation, and let’s face it there may be a tinge of burnout looming as well.  

However, the way that we cope with difficult times makes all the difference. There are two distinct ways that may help you find the silver lining during difficult times faster, replacing the negative with a positive and humor.  

Replacing the Negative with a Positive. Recently, I received an email from a parent regarding her daughter’s struggle with her online coursework. The matter was that her daughter’s professors are all using different ways to do coursework, due date notifications, email messaging and the like. In my haste to address the underlying concerns of the student, and in my attempt to restate the emailed problem/request, I somehow mis-interpreted the intention of the request and got it all wrong. The mother responded back quite annoyed with my response. You know they are annoyed when they say, “You totally missed the point”. Well excuse me ma’am for living (a southern expression for, sorry but not sorry you are mad)!    

In the moment, I could have responded back defensively or negatively. However, I decided to own my mistake, apologize, and redirect her concerns to someone else that could better serve their needs. The silver lining in it all is that I was able to use my resources and connections within Academic Affairs to help a parent, help their student.  Also, I acknowledged my mistake with humility and prevented a major blow-up from the parent that could have resulted in a complaint for our department.

Here are a few examples of how you can replace a negative thought, statement or outlook into a positive one:



My daughter got COVID-19 at the Thanksgiving class party (true story)

I am grateful there were only two children in the class affected and we were able to keep her comfortable with coloring books and popsicles while she was in pain.

Our new puppy tore up my favorite slippers.

At-least I have the other slipper to remind me to put my favorite things away.

There were 50 complaints from parents waiting in my inbox when I returned from vacation.

This is a great sign of vibrant and actively engaged parents and families within my institution. I am also happy that I am a uber efficient at deleting messages!

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Comments on "Finding the Humor/the Silver Lining During Difficult Times"

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Alexandra Brown - Monday, April 26, 2021

I appreciate this post, Tasha! I agree that while it can sometimes feel incredibly hard (impossible even) to find positives in this very challenging time, that it can help us in improving our own mental state and the environment around us. I often use my network that I've built through this organization to commiserate (literally...will be in a text/call with folks like "damn, [this] is really hard and I don't know where to go from here" and those folks will always (A) listen without judgment, (B) acknowledge/validate with similar feelings or experiences, and (C) allow me/us the space to talk it through and find the positives or come up with solutions.

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