Hello! And welcome to our Guide magazine Winter-Spring issue. Please download your copy here Winter-Spring Guide Magazine.
I write this welcome note on Thanksgiving Day. A day when we take a moment to stop and think of all the wonderful, extraordinary as well as ordinary moments in our lives that we are grateful for. A perfect way to present the theme of this magazine’s issue – A Positive Outlook. If there is a year where we all must dig deep and tap into that which is positive and hopeful – then 2020 is it! Not one person I know would think of putting “thankful” and “Covid-19” in the same sentence. Covid-19 has caused so many deaths, a long-lasting global economics lowdown, and rampant general stress and anxiety. However, as I navigated this year, personally and professionally, reading through copious posts, articles by researchers and clinicians, a clear thread of learning surfaced. People who cope well in crisis and even grow through it, have one thing in common – they don’t focus on pursuing happiness to feel better in the moment, they cultivate an attitude of “tragic optimism”.
Tragic optimism (a term coined by Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist from Vienna) is the ability to maintain hope and find meaning in life despite its inescapable pain, loss, and suffering. It may seem inappropriate to call on people to seek the good in a crisis of this magnitude, but in study after study of tragedy and disaster, that’s what resilient people do. And we have witnessed so many examples of resilience in our communities:
- Finding new ways to connect with ourselves, with our families, and our loved ones.
- Realizing how important community is and doubling down on investing in it.
- Deepening our appreciation for the people—the teachers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocery store workers, garbage collectors, bus drivers, janitors, and more.
- Realizing that we can do things that seemed impossible and we can make sacrifices for the greater good. Maybe after learning how to come together to fight this virus, we’ll carry that spirit to fights against racism, sexism, inequality, and climate change.
We dedicated the theme of this issue, “A Positive Outlook”, not to gloss over the pain and suffering that we have all felt this year, but to share stories of how we have found ways to go beyond the negative to find joy and meaning. Read about all those wonderful community members who joined our Come Dine With Me campaign and generously donated towards mental health services (Page 8) and the incredible platform that INWARD has established to support mental health in Shanghai (Page 23). Read stories of community members who were not able to travel but took the opportunity to explore more of Shanghai (Page 16) and China (Page 10) and eloquently described how they were able to find ways to connect despite the challenges (Page 14). Read about how the small, shared moments of humanity connect us more than we realize (Page 15) and about the power of being grateful (Page 18).
The article on rose-tinted glasses (Page 12) perfectly sums up the essence of this issue “perhaps we don’t need to for positive things to happen in 2020, but rather attribute more weight to the positive things that have happened amongst all the negativity” Louise Roy.
So, I hope this issue helps you to choose a Positive Outlook on life.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” Victor E. Frankl
Senait Petros Tekeste
CCS Executive Director