Are You Really Giving Yourself Permission to Feel Bad?
While chatting with some of our coaching candidates and mentors on Zoom yesterday as we got ready to present a webinar, I asked how everyone was doing in this time of pandemic. One of them said that she had been feeling bad for a few days and finally had just let herself cry it out and felt so much better. If anyone had asked her what was bothering her during those uneasy days leading up to the release, she probably couldn’t have named it. Call it existential dread, the quarantine blues, or maybe just plain worry about the world and sadness from feeling cut off from it – this is not an easy time for anyone.
Have you faced whatever you may be feeling about this situation?
Some of us are devastated by loss of jobs or income. Some of us are relieved to be in a safe place, but missing our loved ones and the freedom to interact. Some of us are terrified about what the future will bring. Some of us are trying to figure out how to keep their kids in good spirits and using the time effectively. Some are suffering because their graduating class is going to have to delay their celebration. Some of us are tired of being inside but know that it’s something we are doing for the greater good.
And then some of us feel guilt that we should be suffering or complaining at all, considering what others are going through.
All of these feelings are valid.
Strength vs. Stoicism
For many, going through adversity brings out a certain strength and fortitude; this was evidenced by how Americans and Europeans pulled together during times of war. We recognize that we need to step up to the plate and gird ourselves for what’s ahead. But sometimes, strength turns into stoicism.
1 the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.
Synonyms: Resignation, Forbearance, Patience
Sometimes we gird ourselves too tightly. Maybe because if we give in to complaining and despair, we fear we’ll just go overboard and it will be too hard to be strong again. But being so tough that we repress or suppress all of our feelings can have repercussions. In my years of probing the subconscious mind, those things that get pushed down, don’t really go away; They show up as rage and guilt and addictive behavior and psychosomatic pain.
Journalists and Therapists Have Feelings, Too
I had hit my wall early last week and knew I needed to just take a day without any responsibilities or needing to be strong. Sometimes being strong means that you recognize that it’s okay to allow yourself to express fear and pain and despair. That’s not weakness. It’s called being human.
A few days later I saw this quote from CNN anchor Brian Stelter and felt so validated.
“Truth is, I hit a wall. Gutted by the death toll… Worried about friends who are losing their jobs and kids who are missing school and senior citizens who are living in fear. I crawled in bed and cried for our pre-pandemic lives. I think those tears had been waiting a month to escape.
I wanted to share this with you because it feels freeing to do so. Now is not a time for faux-invincibility. Journalists are living this and hating this just like everyone else.”
Balance Between Resilience and Release
Here are 3 things you can start doing NOW to help move those feelings outside of you (as opposed to keeping them locked inside where they will wreak havoc sooner or later)
1. Do some deep breathing at least once a day.
More if you can, because there is simply nothing as powerful for your mood, immunity, mental health and physical stamina than finding the state of homeostasis. Breathe in with gratitude all that is light and bright and cleansing. Breathe out all that you are holding onto – You are not in charge of the whole world. Here is a very easy to follow technique.
- Have a good cry.
Find a private place either in your home or car, parked somewhere where you can be unseen and unheard. Let it out. We really have been through a lot and there are people suffering. It’s okay to be sad for them but not to keep it inside.
- Balance the Good with the Bad
Every night or morning, list 5 things you are really grateful for and, alongside, 5 things that make you sad. This should be in a notebook or journal or diary you are confident that no one will look at. After you make your 2 lists look over them and imagine yourself on a seesaw – does the good outweigh the bad. Is the bad overwhelming because you can’t solve it all in one day? Or maybe beyond your control? Can you turn any of this over to a Higher Power? Contemplate on some of those questions. You can combine this contemplative period with breathing.
We started a Community Outreach Group on Facebook, with many of our great coaches and mentors contributing lots of great material and free one-on-one sessions, so reach out if you’d like some guidance.
Below is a video of a program we did last week with two of my ultra-talented and compassionate hypnotherapy colleagues. The great techniques shared in this webinar are bound to help you release and move forward.
Remember, we are all in this together. Blessings.