One of the most common themes that we’ve been hearing over the last few weeks is, “I feel like I’m on a roller coaster.” While people are finding unexpected silver linings in this new self-isolating, virtual-everything world, there are also tremendous lows.
It is clear people are trying to stay positive. Whether it’s for their family or their colleagues, they are trying to be supportive and helpful.
Grief and gratitude
And this created an interesting dynamic, where people expressed feeling bad that they feel bad, because others have it “worse”. They have energetic toddlers to entertain while not being able to leave the house. They are self-isolating all alone. They work on the front lines in health care. They have to work from home while also suddenly homeschooling three kids.
I should be more grateful that I don’t have it that bad.
And while that certainly comes from a place of empathy and compassion, there was also profound value created in being able to admit that they are indeed sad and grieving, even if they don’t have it as bad as others.
There is loss of connection, routine, important life events like proms and graduations, missed spring break trips, and so much more. Telling yourself that you shouldn’t be upset about what you are grieving because someone has it worse doesn’t help anyone.
Grief doesn’t get graded on a curve
We all deserve to feel sad or disappointed or angry or whatever it is that you are feeling in these uncertain times.
One of the greatest benefits we found from our daily Social Distance Coaching sessions was the ability to just name and acknowledge what is hard, without judgement. Participants enjoyed the safe space to just talk about what they are experiencing and feeling, without trying to fix it or feel better about it or compare it to anyone else’s experience.
And once they gave themselves permission to feel what they were feeling, and let go of the self judgement, there was a new perspective and energy that suddenly emerged.
Feel all the feelings
We are human. We are not robots. We feel. And as these weeks have proven, we can feel more than one emotion at once. This is complex. Whatever you are feeling is ok. Use this time to build your core.
When you are overwhelmed with emotion, PAUSE, and take a breath.
THINK about what you are feeling and acknowledge it. There’s no need to tell yourself not to feel that way (it doesn’t work anyway!). Name the feeling and consider how you want and need to move forward.
And then ACT from that place…thoughtfully.