Close Connections: Who are you now?


By Nancy Norman

You might say, well, my hair has gotten pretty long. Or I’ve gained a few pounds. But the real test is how well we’re dealing with the current far-reaching, frightening events.

It’s not that we don’t look at ourselves in non-crisis times. But during these times, looking at ourselves is perhaps even more important.

So how can we take an inventory of ourselves? Questions is the answer. Here are some of them:

  • What are my most important values, values being my highest standards of behavior? Examples are dependability, honesty, loyalty, compassion, open-mindedness, efficiency, integrity, perseverance, discipline, non-judgmentalness. List your values in order of priority. That alone will offer plenty to think about. Then ask yourself how you’re doing on each core value.
  • What are my interests, interests being the things I love to do and want to learn more about? Examples are sports, music, reading, art. The world is open here. You name it! List your interests in order of desire. Then ask yourself how much time and energy you’re devoting to these things that feed your soul. Are you making them a priority? Or do they only happen after the work’s done, the duties are finished or others are cared for?
  • What do I do when I’m under stress, stress being the pressure to take action as my life unfolds? This is sure a good one for now. Examples are political strife, social unrest, mean neighbors, too much to do, relationship struggles, health challenges. List the feelings and sensations that go with stress. Examples are depression, anxiety, hyperness, worry, anger, restlessness, racing thoughts, forgetfulness, raw fear. Are you learning how to manage these feelings? Are you finding out how other people have dealt with stress successfully?
  • What are my strengths, strengths being the personal “tools” I call on to deal with what comes into my life? Examples are resilience, steadfastness, faith, problem-solving, discernment. List your strengths in order. What strengths would you like to see higher up on your list? What strengths would you like to enhance? What strengths would you like to add to your list?
  • What is my connection to the world around me, the world around me being the Earth, other human beings, animals, birds and things we cannot see? Examples are relating to friends and family, interacting with strangers, contributing to the Earth, caring for creatures great and small, my heartfelt sentiments like love and beliefs in something greater than myself. List your connections. Does the way you act reflect how much you feel connected to the world? Are you lonely or isolated? Do you find time to listen to others? Are you willing to risk telling others who you really are?

And as you explore your life with these questions, how do you think you’ve changed in the last few months, owing to the grand challenges? How do you want to change or stay the same now?

Nancy Norman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, musician with The Storys duo and former “Intimacy” columnist for “The Wichita Eagle.” Email her at










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