Katarina's blog

It’s Okay Not To Feel Okay – Forgiving Ourselves During the COVID-19 Crisis

Today in the grocery store, a man screamed at me because I was too slow putting my groceries into my bags.

Forty-nine people liked a comment where a woman verbally attacked another woman on social media.

Two days ago I flipped out when my husband broke the social distancing rules.

I’m fully aware of the fact that many people experience much worse situations than this, but that doesn’t take away our right to acknowledge our own challenging circumstances.

One person on social media wrote: “From my point of view we can complain about losing jobs and income, losing loved ones, getting seriously sick… being afraid of future economy, but being afraid while being in a comfortable home… is not ok.”

These kinds of comments upset me, because they are shaming privileged people who feel afraid.

It’s everybody’s birthright to FEEL AFRAID!

If you’re like me and grew up in a culture where you had to hide your fear and as a result developed a lot of shame when you felt afraid, you might know what I mean.

“Get your act together.” “Be strong.” It’s not all that bad.” they said…

There is a lot of shaming around what some people consider being “weak”.  Many of us grew up with the mindset that showing feelings and being vulnerable was a bad thing.

WE WILL get out of this crisis and it will eventually make us stronger and more resilient. But for now, I really encourage us all to feel our feelings, whatever situation we may find ourselves in and whatever feelings we have.

IT’S OKAY NOT TO FEEL OKAY RIGHT NOW.

IT’S OKAY TO BE AFRAID.

IT’S OKAY TO BUY A LOT OF TOILET PAPER IF THIS IS WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE.

IT’S OKAY NOT TO COPE SO WELL.

IT’S OKAY NOT TO USE THIS TIME TO DO ALL THE THINGS YOU ALWAYS DREAMT OF DOING.

IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE AS BRAVE AND COURAGEOUS AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE.

IT’S OKAY TO FEEL OVERWHELMED.

IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE YOUR BEST SELF RIGHT NOW.

After three weeks in quarantine with a lot of responsibilities for others, I decided to take last Sunday only for myself. I spend it mostly in my hammock seat on our balcony. I turned to three people for guidance.

I started with myself and just sat in stillness and observed my thoughts and feelings.

Then I decided to listen to some words of wisdom from Michaela Boehm, who now regularly offers online conversations together with her teaching partner Steve James. In one of their talks Michaela said:

“Assume that you are not okay, and that any behaviour which is out of the ordinary is a stress response”.

If we open up to the fact that we’re all humans and that we’re not okay in this crisis, maybe we can show a bit more compassion towards each other.

When the man screamed at me at the store today, I gave him a big smile back.

When I read those posts on social media, I felt their pain, both the one who was attacked and the one attacking.

When I flipped out two days ago, I took a break afterwards and used the meditation app Insight timer to calm myself down. There, I found a talk by the author Elizabeth Gilbert, who helped me pour love words towards my fear.

If you feel anxious and need support, I recommend having a listen. She shares how important it is to shower yourself with tenderness in this extraordinary time:

https://insighttimer.com/elizabeth_gilbert_writer/guided-meditations/facing-fear-with-a-compassionate-heart

I also listened to a conversation Elizabeth had with head of TED Chris Anderson, where she  says “you either have to be a sociopath or totally enlightened not to feel anxious right now.”

 In the conversation, she addresses something that made me feel heard:

“When you feel anxious and you are laying shame on top of that because you should be handling it better, then you are multiplying the suffering. The antidote is giving yourself some mercy and show yourself compassion.”

This is one of the most powerful conversations I have heard lately, and I think many of you will be touched by listening to it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNBvC25bxQU

I’m not sure how I will look back on this crisis, but what I wish for myself is that I didn’t rush away from this experience. Times like this can transform our lives, offering an opportunity for extraordinary growth on a personal level.

Stay healthy and open to whatever is there to feel!

signature

katarina_stoltz_profile_pic_hey

Hi, I’m Kasia, a Life Coach helping women who choose to create big shifts in their lives – personal or professional. Welcome to my blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to live a fulfilled life. Passionate about helping you discover your unique talents and supporting you to create extraordinary relationships with others, as well as with yourself. I also share my wisdom for how to deal with challenges that come your way.

Join my journey!