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A Need To Take Action
Sometimes you have to take action without knowing if it is the right thing to do. You are not sure if it will succeed or fail, but something needs to be done. If it fails, you can always try something else – but action, movement, something will have been accomplished and you have gained information about what your next step might be.
Inaction is slow.
Inaction is impotent.
Inaction can be deadly.
While not every occasion requires immediate action, some call for it — even demand it outright. We all need to identify those moments and act.
Even for a worrier
I am an inveterate worrier. I feel anxious over often meaningless issues, but despite this, I have an inherent trait that has served me well when presented with the need for immediate action. I don’t know where it comes from, but I recognize the deep need for it.
When in a crisis, I – for lack of a better word – disassociate. Gone is the worry, the fear, the horror in an instant. My wife has seen me do this on several occasions and she always expresses profound disbelief at the change that comes over me. While I am still myself, I am also someone quite different. Gone are the petty worries and awkwardness. I become all business – coordinating ambulance responses, stopping bleeding, relaying vital signs to dispatchers, or getting us quickly and safely to the hospital after our son’s injurious traffic accident.
Afterward, though, I am my old self. My hands shake. Fatigue hits me. Fear, worry, and horror all come flooding back. It is only natural, but the difference is made all the more dramatic in comparison. I have done what NEEDS to be done WHEN it NEEDS to be done.
Finding your inner strength
I recount this so that perhaps you may find this “other person” inside yourself. Life presents us with new crises every day. How we react to them determines the next few minutes and hours but also the rest of our lives. It can be tremendously frightening to consider what crises might come your way, but considering them and preparing for them is deeply necessary.
In a crisis, I can call on all the tiny bits of training and information I have taken in over the years. I may be no expert on CPR but can perform the basics. I know the methods for stopping bleeding – and have had to employ them here in my own home. I know the signs of a concussion and when to seek treatment. Again, it might be far from perfect, but I can do it. That in itself is tremendously important.
You should cultivate your knowledge in these areas, too. You never know when you might be called on to intervene. I say this too due to the ways I have seen others react (or not react) in an emergency. There have been several times when I have had to intervene because no one else was stepping up to address the problem. This is so disheartening to see. We should all have the ability to do what needs to be done.
Psychology plays a large part in facing crises, too. Often we need to (controllably) be able to disassociate when necessary. Others often need what we would need in such a crisis. I think I focus so clearly on their needs that I can put aside my own, if only for a short time.
Responding to more than physical danger
Responding to crises other than the immediately life-threatening is important, too, of course. Here I am not nearly as adept, though. There are so many actions, so many protests, so many meetings, so much politics that is important but in those cases, my disassociation does not appear. I can’t overcome the awkwardness, fear, and embarrassment needed to have more effect in those areas.
I must admit that I am often disappointed in myself. I wish to and want to take more action, but can’t. Perhaps I can learn a way to surmount this psychological wall and perhaps you can too. It seems deeply important to try. We can all be frustrated and dismayed about what is happening around us, but we should also be able to take action against it.
Life has been difficult for everyone lately – and deeply more difficult for some. Perhaps over the next few months, we can look deeply inside ourselves and find ways to make life better for everyone. I will certainly be trying.