Life is challenging. Scarcity has taken the place of abundance. Our roles as parents, children, siblings, and friends have changed. Our jobs aren’t the same as they were even a month ago.
There is loss. There is sadness. There is anxiety. A new normal? Possibly. But really really hard.
I’ve tried to keep this all positive, pointing out what we can do to make things better. Attitude shifts. Taking action. And they are all necessary and important.
But I skipped a step. I skipped it for me. I tried to do all the stuff I suggested you do but I didn’t let myself lean into the discomfort until it washed over me like a tidal wave last night.
I forgot that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. And what you are feeling is grief. At least that’s what I’m feeling.
Harvard Business Journal recently published an article titled “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.” David Kessler, who, along with Elizabeth Kubler Ross, developed the stages of grief, explains that we are grieving multiple changes in our lives.
And If the stuff that’s actually happened is not bad enough, we also suffer from anticipatory grief, grieving things that might happen but have not.
It’s not all bad. He offers suggestions on how to deal with what you’re feeling. He suggests mindfulness and trying to bring yourself back into the moment when things start to overwhelm.
More importantly, he gives you permission to feel the discomfort. Sometimes we need to hear that it’s okay to do that.
My sadness last night demanded a name. And now it has one. Grief.
It’s funny how reading one thing can change your perspective. Knowing that you are not alone in what you are feeling can help you move forward with the things you know you need to do.
I know that grief will come in waves. Not being able to hug the ones I love. Getting out of my comfort zone in my career. The uncertainty of what the future holds for my community. And toilet paper. What is the deal with the lack of toilet paper?
There will be stages. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But Kessler points out they have added another stage.
What is it all for? What will we learn from all of this? And how can we take what we learn and use it to move ourselves and our people, all of our people, forward?
How will we learn to swim through these murky waters?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell until this is all over. And we don’t know when that will be.
I would love to live in a world full of sunshine and unicorns. Where the only Corona I hear about is served on a beach with a lime.
But right now we are where we are. That discomfort? It has a name. And once we know who or what we are dealing with, we are in a better place to handle it.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s enough of a Happy Fix for now.