‘I wish I wasn’t so dependent on seeing other people’, a friend of mine said in a phone conversation.
At first I was like: ‘Yes, totally, me too.’
But then I realised: ‘Wait, what? Isn’t it human to want to see and connect with other people?‘
Of course, that doesn’t mean we should all go out and just hang out with all our friends and family right this instant.
But feeling the need, and feeling some type of way about the loss of that contact, that’s normal.
And making ourselves wrong for feeling this, doesn’t help us.
Same goes for not being okay with all the uncertainties and lack of perspective.
‘I wish I was better at just living in the moment’, people will say right now.
And yes, there is a development we can go through, were we maybe used to be really attached to our plans and structures. And we start to learn to let go of that a little bit, go with the flow more. That then helps us to enjoy the present moment better, because we’re not so occupied with trying to control the future.
But developing that is a lot easier if at least there is some security in a couple of areas of your lives. The pandemic is really messing with that at the moment, and that is hard.
It can also make us feel like it has set us back a couple of years in our development.
Maybe you’ve worked years on feeling more independent, more able to deal with conflict. You might feel healthier, calmer with the kids, etc.
And then, boom, the pandemic hits.
And it brings out all the old mechanisms, all our human ways of coping with stress and the unknown. Some of them are silly, some less constructive, some even destructive.
But all so very human.
Mentally some might try to rationalize everything, explaining everything with numbers and science.
Others try to make sense of it all by judging and labelling what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (I know that one very well personally, especially towards myself).
And some of us feel their mistrust towards government and big corporations growing and start to feel drawn to conspiracy theories.
We overeat, we under-eat, we binge watch, we might lay on the couch all day, or we over-exercise. To numb things, or to feel more in control.
It is not you, it’s the pandemic.
So please be gentle with all of this.
Of course, we can work on healthier ways of coping, and we can always strive to improve.
But please don’t beat yourself up right now for the coping mechanisms that are happening.
It is what is helping you through right now.
We’re all trying, and it is hard for most of us.
So let’s just try and be mild with ourselves and our loved ones.
In the meantime, it can help to reach out. Talk about this with your friends and family, share your struggles, if you’re not already doing that.
Let’s remind ourselves of our human-ness and not blame ourselves.
And if you need some structural support right now, let me know, maybe I can help.