Let’s face it. We’ve all been through a lot lately. I know everyone’s situation is different. Everyone’s burdens are a different size, shape, and weight. However, in conversations with several different friends, I’ve noticed a few common threads. Moreover, I’ve found myself repeating the same mantra to each – “Give yourself grace”.
There are a lot of different emotions that run through each and every day. For example, I can go from extreme joy, to pure productivity, to unstoppable tears, all in the same afternoon. Through several therapy sessions (and one great friend who has acted as my therapist on many occasions), I’ve learned to break down and backtrack my emotions as much as possible. In fact, it’s actually quite an easy concept – you just have to pretend you’re a little kid and keep asking yourself “why?”.
Let’s break that down, shall we? If you catch yourself crying, ask why. Then answer yourself, and ask why again. Repeat until you find a base cause. Or get annoyed with yourself asking why. Just kidding. Let’s say I’m crying and my “why” is that I had a bad day. Why? Because I messed up on a project. Why? Because I was distracted. Why? Because I am overwhelmed and worried. Why? Because I’m worried about my family and financials during this time. Ok. Now that’s something you can work with. Which brings me back to the title of this post – Give yourself grace.
This pandemic is not your fault. The worry is not yours to bear alone. As I speak with friends and family, the more I realize we’re all feeling the same things. Surprisingly, the number one emotion I’m hearing / feeling / uncovering / discovering is grief. Another is a form of survivors guilt. Of course another is fear. And last but not least – gratefulness. We’re “living in unprecedented times” (has anyone turned that into a drinking game yet?). With that in mind, we’re all feeling unprecedented feelings. Change hurts. And it takes time. So you have to be patient with yourself. You have to give yourself grace.
When facing your burdens, it’s important to remember that the size of other peoples’ burdens does not diminish the size of your own. We all have struggles. Although some are bigger than others, that doesn’t make yours lighter to carry. Some have lost loved ones to this pandemic. Others have lost life events like weddings, graduations, etc. If your burden is perceived as “small”, that doesn’t mean that you can’t grieve it. Just because others are hurting more than you, doesn’t mean that you don’t feel pain. You have to give yourself grace.
However, this is not free reign to throw yourself a pity party. Or permission to be a jerk. Instead, this is your chance to “give it to God and let go.” Or if you’re not religious, give it to the universe / Earth / spirit / energy / fate / whatever you believe in. This is your chance to forgive yourself and others. To take this crummy situation and help rebuild the world into a better place. Because I don’t know about you, but I didn’t go through all of this to come out on the other side as the same person I was going in.
I’m a firm believer in no regrets. But this pandemic definitely has me looking at things a bit differently. I’ve always though of myself as someone who doesn’t take things for granted. But I’ve never been so appreciative of my friends and family. Or grocery stores. Or cars. Even Amazon, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. Originally I heard people saying everyone will come out of this pandemic either super fit, or gaining the 2020 twenty. However, I think this change goes beyond the superficial. I think people will come out of this either more cynical or more grateful. And the best part is… Unlike gaining weight, you get to choose which one you want to be. Wake up every morning with hope, and go to bed with a grateful heart. It will change the world.
As it is said in 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The only way to fight fear is with love. To love others, we must love ourselves. And to love yourself, you have to give yourself grace.