The practice of staying grounded is key to maintaining stability and calmness in the face of the chaos and uncertainty. In my view, this quote from Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning captures the benefit of being grounded perfectly:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”.
While there is much we cannot control in our lives, we always have the freedom to choose our response to what occurs. We can engage in behaviours guided by values that are important to us.
The Antidote to Instability: Acceptance and Action Grounded in Values
The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of instability and chaos that most people living today have never experienced. We are now living in a world we never imagined. Everyone has been forced to change how they live which, understandably, has caused many considerable distress and anxiety. In the face of change and uncertainty, practicing acceptance and being grounded may not necessarily make these moments easier. However, it will provide a foundation to operate from and navigate changes in a meaningful way.
Setting Boundaries and Navigating Instability
So how do we do this? First, we need to accept what we cannot control – rather than struggle and make the suffering worse – and focus on what we can control, i.e. our attitude and response. Second, we need to create boundaries grounded in values within which we choose to operate. It is important to consider:
- What are your core values and priorities in life?
- What is most important to you?
- What do you value in this moment?
Finally, we need to choose our response to instability that is grounded in core values and priorities. This may be overwhelming at first but start small. Think of a few small actions you can take in response to chaos that are aligned and grounded in the person you want to be. Small, value-driven actions are a means of creating the world you want.
To conclude, the practice of being grounded can be thought of the presence of inner strength and clarity of values, mindfulness, and an acceptance of what is. It is an understanding that “life is happening for me, not to me” together with a choice to accept what has happened, being grounded and present, and choosing behaviours guided by core values in response.