Embrace Hope: A Resilience Tactical Pause Story

The Air Force’s Resiliency Tactical Pause isn’t about a stand down day; it’s about connecting with the people around you and making sure they’re connected to you. In the next few weeks, your leadership, supervisors, peers, subordinates, and others will be having small group discussions. Be honest, be vulnerable, but most of all, be yourself. If you’re struggling to find your place in your unit, Misawa Air Base, the Air Force, or even bigger than that, we’re here to listen to you and support you. For any Airman out there struggling right now: there is hope. Please don’t give up on us because we will NEVER give up on you. (U.S. Air Force video by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

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I feel people have helped me multiple times in my life. It helps me know that my life is worth something, I’m doing something right, I’m living for a purpose. Patience, compassion, and mercy for every single person, and every single situation that you have. The mission is the mission, maintenance is maintenance, everybody’s busy, but those work as a distraction from helping somebody who’s in need. And you would never know unless you listened to a person as they communicate to you. It may be on the job. It’s a hard step, to step out of the support structure that you know, and say, hey, I’m struggling with this. Some people want the privacy action, and so there’s many of our counselors are very private, and you can go talk to them, and they by law can’t communicate what you’ve shared with them. Sometimes it’s just the support structure, where you put your arm around your spouse or your kids. Say, hey, I’m having a tough time today. I used to get road rage when I was younger, and I realized that, you know, if somebody makes a mistake on the road, and I’m sitting here thinking, well I had a great day, and this guy’s in my way going slow, well you know maybe they had a bad day. Maybe it’s their first time out, driving on the road. So everybody else has their backstory. I think if you learned just an inch of their backstory, might help you, or him or her, get closer to that other person, and just have a little more, hey, this person’s a person, and they really… Maybe I’m here, maybe I can help them. Maybe they can help me with something. We’re doing more with less, and sometimes people don’t think we have that moment to pause. You have to practice the pause, and that’s probably the hardest thing that I’ve learned. When I went through resilience training, and just learning all of these different things, is to practice the pause. Like, I’m gonna pause, and I’m gonna listen. When I say, hey, how are you doing? I’m not gonna already be halfway down the hall, and someone could be like, ‘oh my gosh, I’m so sad,’ and I wasn’t there to hear it. So pause, I know it’s weird at first, you have to practice it, and say hey, how are you, and most people will be like, oh, I’m just fine. No, but genuinely, how are you doing? You know I haven’t talked to you. What’s going on? How are your kids? How’s your wife? How’s snowboarding? Ask those questions. You have to take that pause, but you have to practice that pause, and you have to practice that listening. It’s not something, for most people, that just comes naturally. Social media has taken something from us. Now only we can give back to each other. And that’s communication. Face-to-face, heart-to-heart communication. Yes, it allows us to communicate all over the world, but it’s better to look a person in the eyes, then to understand, hey, what are you really`(mumbles). I did go to dark places, and I do get depressed. It happens. But it’s one of those things where as I’m trying to rebuild myself, and regain strength, it’s, why am I here, why do I exist, what things beyond me personally give me strength, and where do I find strength? And for me, that’s in others. You have those people that will support you, whether it’s your spouse’s squadron, that are tight-knit and try and help you, and bring you in as family, whether it’s the friends that you meet at a play date, or your coworkers, they’re there for you, and they wanna provide that hope for you. And as long as you’re willing to accept it, and embrace hope, it’s available to you.

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