Letting Go During COVID 19
Covid 19 has forced us to let go of our way of life. Woven into each changed life circumstance is emotional unrest. My clients reveal that it feels dark, never ending, as if we are free falling into the unknown with no end in sight. What will support us in our lives during Covid 19, Civil Unrest, the Fires, Political Landscape? Tenacity? Determination? Positivity?
In the American culture we are taught to never give up “to achieve” in order to be happy. Determination, tenacity along with positivity are the behaviors used to achieve our goals. Often, it is at the expense of our wellbeing. In todays climate, determination, tenacity, and positivity isn’t enough. Nor are these behaviors the most compassionate way to navigate through today’s circumstances. And, for me, positivity can be a loud cheerleader that can cause me to ignore how I am feeling. I call these behavior traits, “the three amigos”.
The Three Amigos
The behavior traits, the three amigos, became a habit for me. The habit to not “let go” to achieve a goal to be happy began when I was 6 years old when I took waterskiing lessons. As you know, when you fall, you are supposed to let go of the rope. Not me. I held on. As the story goes, the instructor lost count of how many times I fell while being dragged through the water. I remember hanging on with no intention of letting go of the rope. I also remember being terrified to let go. I can still see my waterskiing teacher with her huge green striped straw hat, a cigarette hanging out of her mouth driving the boat beside me, she forcefully implored, “Jeez, doll, for heaven sake, ya gotta let go of the rope!” Despite how much water I got up my nose or in my throat, I never let go of the rope. And, yes, I got up to ski all around the lake.
My waterskiing experience reinforced my behavior to ignore my feelings to achieve my dreams or any goal at any emotional cost. Today, Covid 19 is causing me to reflect to ensure the three amigos do not override how I feel. I am learning “holding on” causes me to suffer as I am unable to accept that it’s in my best interest to let go. Hard to trust that letting go may provide a different opportunity that could be better or space to create something new. For me, acceptance is key. Not easy. Loss is painful. Letting go is what I refer to as the grief equation: Acceptance + Loss + Pain = Grief. There is no way around the emotions, only through them. We need to honor the process.
Compassion, Connection and Life’s Light
Covid 19 is teaching, sometimes forcing me, to let go. When we only focus on our goals we ignore our emotional wellbeing while being unkind to ourselves. As a reformed determined, tenacious positivity person, I am learning to be kinder to myself by honoring my feelings. Yes, the three amigos can be valuable to achieve a goal as long as we remain connected to ourselves. Self-awareness will point to what we need for our wellbeing. When I get out of balance, I slow down, go for a walk, meditate or get feedback from a colleague or friend.
We need to be compassionate with ourselves and to those around us. When life feels overwhelmingly dark, I walk towards life’s light by focusing on the things that are magical in life, nature, listening to my breath or how my heart automatically beats despite my despair. When I can’t find the light in life, I call a friend. We are not meant to do this alone. Let’s walk together during this time. I am here to support you. We are better together.
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