It felt a little rusty to give a speech last week. I have given speeches here and there during COVID, but none consistently as I had been doing pre-COVID.
I was a bit nervous and took a lot of time to prepare and make sure I was ready to go and knew what to say. After the presentation was over, I knew it had gone well enough and I felt pleased with myself and very pleased with the students I spoke to. But my feelings were even further validated when an administrator stayed on to tell me that my speech was one of the best they have had on mental health. This was not only incredibly validating, but it also reminded me that the strengths and talents that we already have, don’t go too far away.
I think about the student-athletes who are losing yet another season of their sport. I know if I was an athlete right now, I’d be filled with anxiety about if my talents as a track athlete would still exist without consistent training and track meets. It’s very easy to think about what we have lost within us in these moments of tough times, rather than what we have gained within us.
We have gained time to develop some of our weaknesses into strengths, we have gained insight into ourselves that we might not have been able to have before. And we have not lost our strengths. Our strengths remain strong within us, and even though they might not get practiced every day during this time and might need a tune-up every now and then, our strengths and skills still exist.
I was afraid that the skills I had been developing in speaking and empowering had been lost, but they have been there this entire time, waiting to be used again, waiting to empower someone again. And I was able to offset the fears by reminding myself of the positive affirmations that center me before a speech and allow me to keep going if I mess up.
So whatever skill or strength you have that you can’t use as much right now, take it as an opportunity to work on other parts of you, develop yourself fully, and know that you have tools, skills, strength and beauty within you, to do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t let what COVID has taken away from us, steal the strengths and skills you have that make you beautifully, simply, you.