How are you holding up during the "Rona of 2020"? It's been a shake up to our world financially, emotionally and physically. It has forced the world to slow down. It has been a hard lesson in the perception of what humans think they can control. So how y'all doing?
Many people may feel angry, frustrated, denial, sad and a slew of emotions. Some folks may feel disconnected. Some may feel that the goverment and health officials are placing a burden on their civil liberties and feel a sense of violation. Then there are those who may feel a sense of relief that the world has had to slow all the way down. Some folks, despite all of the uncertainity may feel like they can breathe for once and really think. For some people there is a heighten sense of being productive. Some folks are like "Naw, me and this couch about to Netflix and chill." Some folks are homeschooling and really getting to know their children in a way that they did not ave the privilege of experiencing. Thank you teachers EVERYWHERE! Y'all the real MVPs.
Prior to the pandemic I was really starting to get into the mode of focusing on living with joy despite (fill in the blank). Joy is an buoy. It keeps you bouncing above the water when the waves get rough. Joy is a reminder that there are things that are going well. Joy is a reminder to your brain, body and heart that you don't have to survive yet thrive. Joy is that light at the end of the tunnel. It is the sun right after the rain. And we know that the rain eventually goes away.
How to hold onto joy? (1) Living in the moment. Pull yourself back from thinking about the what if's and think about the "right now". What's going right? What is in your control? (2) Comparison is the thief of joy. Your neighbor might be building a outdoor fireplace. Yeah for them. You got out of bed and fed yourself. That is good enough. (3) You are enough. Insecurities may creep up. Naw, you have come a long way. You have done some things that allowed you to get to this place. It may not be exactly where you want to be but you are here. (4) Be you. Your smile, your kindness, your spirit is a gift. Conforming to a standard that is built on survival in the (neighborhood, family, corporate, academic settings, etc) is not who you are meant to be. Flex on'em. It's ok. (5) Cookies and cake is delicious. No really what makes you happy and not numb? A good ass cookie will have me dropping low to the floor! (6) Connections with others who make you happy. Setting boundaries with people who increases your stress level. Protect ya peace.
It's difficult, I know. It takes repetition of new behaviors to create a new habit. On average 21 days to change behaviors. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Sit with your feelings. You do not need to dismiss them. Think through them and not over them. Remember to focus on what is going well, what feels good, taking one step at a time and connect with others that feed your soul. Joy is present.
Has someone ever said to you, "I told you so?!" or "If you would've listened to me this wouldn't have happened?" I've been reflecting on the indignation and anger or perhaps hurt that is underneath those statements. It is as if the friend/family member/colleague/acquaintance is lobbying an accusation about your failure to heed their advice. Hmmm...Merriam-Webster's definition of advice is to make a recommendation regarding a decision or course of counsel. The Free Dictionary defines it as an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to conduct: an admonition; a warning.
When offering advice it is typically based on one's worldview and or perception of how they see the other person. So basically one offers advice on what they think is best for their friend based on the lens of their own experiences, how they felt when watching their friend go through something and their own fears, joys and successes. Advice can also come from a place of arrogance.
When the phrase "I told you so?!" or "If you would've listened to me..." is directed towards you what do you feel or think. When this happens to me a few salty curse words come to mind. I also inwardly groan. I also squint my eyes and furrow my brow because I can't believe the words that are coming out their mouth. I also feel annoyed because I'm like what the entire f#(% can't I just talk?! Damn!
I know that people have good intentions and only want the best. However what is missing is really being present and understanding what I need, understand and want IN MY TIME not theirs. Also what is missing is that I may be venting not asking to be rescued or advised.
Sometimes people just need someone to listen. Listening can be more than enough. Being a sounding board is a gift. It allows the person to throw out ideas and thoughts out loud and in a safe space with someone they trust.
Try it sometime. Just listen without advising. Be present. Save your agenda for yourself. When your friend/colleague or loved wants your advice let them ask for it or ask them if they want advice before freely giving it.
When does healing begin? I like to think healing begins when you recognize something has happened that has impacted your ability to be free in your mind, body, relationships and spirit. When you recognize that you are hurting to the point that you are not the person you know you can be then the journey has begun.
Now healing doesn't happen over night. It's a process. A true journey. Once you start doing the work you may recognize there are other things happening or happened in your life that exacerbates your wounds. Sometimes you have to repair those things before you take a big dive into addressing anything else. Healing is about creating stabilization so that you can focus, prepare and repair.
Sometimes healing feels so heavy and long. You might even say to yourself, "I thought I was past all of this!" Sometimes what we think of as being healed was really tucking some stuff away in a closet only for it to find the most opportune time to jump out. Hence the journey. You can become tired, weary and afraid. You are going somewhere where you will truly reflect and make some decisions about your life, health and relationships. When you release pain, throw away responsibilities that weren't yours to carry and free up space within yourself for peace and joy, oh what a feeling!!! To be free. To be comfortable in your skin. To feel joy.
Then there is the maintenance of being healed. What you have learned about yourself and the new coping skills you have internalized must be maintained. "How do you do that?" We'll save that for another day.
So when should you seek a therapist support? When carrying the load is so heavy that you feel stuck. When you can't figure something out because there is so much fear, doubt, insecurity that is keeping you from thinking critically. When your relationship with self and others begin to suffer. When you begin to parent in the way you never wanted to parent. And whenever you feel like it. No one has the right to tell you when and how to heal. You determine that. And when you have then you have begun the journey towards healing.