As I engage with family and friends and observe the influx of exhausted individuals coming into my studio, there is one common denominator underlying each story: blame of the self.
Nearly every individual, during the pandemic, fights through the guilt of having to face their current situation.
Men place more pressure on themselves to provide for themselves and their families during an impossible economic landscape. Single mothers, in despair, are trying to juggle their kids’ mental health and meet their own basic needs. Single people seem to have lost all the benefits of a carefree lifestyle; freedom, socializing, and fun now reflect a harsh reality of loneliness, isolation, and no work-home balance.
The challenges compound as the global disaster increases humanity’s distress with the impossible task of dealing with choices we never had to face before.
We have to be cautious of the air we breathe (literally), decide to send children to school or keep them home, sacrifice all emotional well-being for the sake of keeping a job that barely lets us make ends meet. And don’t forget that you must feel lucky about the mentioned job or you’re considered ungrateful.
The task of trying to stay sane, let alone well and balanced, is driving families and individuals into depths of despair I have never seen before.
What amazes me the most is how each family unit or solitary person blames themselves for these moments of desperation.
People are buying into the narrative that they should be “more resilient,” “try harder,” “suck it up.” All of this is often mixed with the crushing reality of illness and grief. We need to reclaim some power, if not only perspective.
It may be critical to our emotional well-being to understand that these unique circumstances are an unravelling of choices that we, as individuals, had no part in choosing for ourselves or our loved ones.
Balance and a positive outlook might not be something attainable during a crisis. Socio-economic systems need to change and start having employers prioritize employees’ mental health. Business owners need systematic change by governmental frameworks to support their families effectively during a pandemic. The vulnerable members of our society need a community they can rely on for support and care.
We will not agree with a system that tries to convince us that we are to blame.
But how do we cope with a widespread pandemic? I believe some of the relief we are longing for lies in the proclamation “Less is more.”
My inner landscape, home, business, relationships, and family structures may feel tumultuous because the world is entirely haywire. Not because loving people are failing themselves or their loved ones. It’s time to clear anything off the schedule that isn’t necessary or needs immediate attention.
Perfection is not in my vocabulary, but forgiveness, empathy, and understanding are at the forefront of the crusade.
There seems to be a long road ahead with no clear outcomes to such phenomenal, systematic negligence.
Pretending to continue with forced smiles and dejected nervous systems needs to be addressed with honesty. Vanquished dreams and loss of innocence—as our children try to navigate an ocean of disbelief—need to be acknowledged.
It’s important to recognize every part of this global mess and its impact on our lives.
Speak out, reach out, and give yourself what you need to feel cared for and nurtured. Let us free ourselves from any needless guilt or shame because, eventually, this is not our fault.