Commentary: Be the change

  • Published
  • By Felisha Garcia, Psy.D.
  • Robins AFB Occupational Medicine Services

“You have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world,” asserts the American abolitionist Harriet Tubman and are words that resonate with me when I am feeling overwhelmed.

With the constant messaging on COVID-19, politics, racial disparities, violence, suicide, and daily work and personal stressors, the world can feel like it is claustrophobic with negativity. How do we fix it all? I certainly do not have the answer – it can weigh on me as well. So what can we do? Simplify life and focus on your own bubble. It makes it all a little more bearable.

A positive from all of this is that people are showing you who they really are and what they stand for. You can decide to either take them as they are or not waste any further time but peacefully coexist. It can be mentally exhausting to become fixated on changing the opinions of others and may lead you down a road of frustration, anger, and sadness. Remember that we cannot control the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others. We can only manage our own. Live the life we want to see and be the person we want others to be.

You want to see more kindness? Be kind. You wish for more respect and professionalism? Become it and show it. What if others do not mirror? Oh well! If you are living the best version of yourself, then you can sleep soundly knowing that you tried.

I encourage you to expand your bubble by learning, experiencing, and opening your mind. COVID-19 may have suspended our ability to travel, but it does not stop our ability to mentally travel. I travel all over the world every day without leaving my office by listening to the experiences of my patients and coworkers and asking questions. I have learned about new places, different cultures, world views, social justice issues… the sky’s the limit! Whether I agree or disagree with patients, I am grateful for the opportunity to better understand their points-of-view. Make the changes in yourself and you may, in turn, inspire others!

Editor’s note: Felisha Garcia is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Robins AFB who provides mental health services to civilians. To contact Garcia, call Occupational Medicine Services at 478-327-7590.

No federal endorsement is intended.