I remember when I was in my 20s I took a self-help seminar. I was doing a team activity, and I really didn’t like one of the members. She was inappropriately rude, saying things like, “I can feel your anger. Your jaw clenches. It’s not pretty. Why don’t you just let it go?” Though it enraged me that she would say such a thing, only adding to my ire, I thought I was supposed to become more tolerant of others. So I pushed my anger down, thinking I was “letting it go,” and tried to be accepting of this team member.
It’s taken me years to listen to myself and not others idea of me. I now see I can respond by saying I don’t want someone to speak to me in that way. At the time, I thought I had to carry my shame for allowing my anger to be seen, and I had to hold her insensitive reaction to me. Part of the slow learning curve on my part had to do with not wanting to be where I was. I didn’t want to be an angry person. I thought that made me negative. At worst, unlovable. Sometimes I just didn’t want to be where I was at any given moment because it was uncomfortable, or it felt intolerable.
Getting through the pandemic has felt so uncomfortable for most of us. Now in this transitional time that has seen a surge of cases, so many have little or no tolerance. We’re seeing more impatience, more agitation. We’re beat. Collectively we are silently saying, “Not This!” Though we wish this was all behind us, we continue to endure. Repeatedly we are challenged to meet the moment we’re in. If and when we look back, we are sadly nostalgic. When we attempt to look ahead, we can feel anxious and hopeless. We might not like these feelings but they’re real. When we deny them because we want to be in a better place, my experience is that those uncomfortable emotions linger. The old adage, “What we resist, persists,” is fitting.
If we’re able to live with our anger, impatience, boredom, frustration, and exasperation, we can address those feelings. And, in dealing with where we are, no matter how we feel about it, we get to the next moment, and the next. Getting through these difficult times is a moment-by-moment process. Our courage to face ourselves no matter what, more than anything else, allows us to grow in so many ways. Let’s meet ourselves at this time with patience, kindness and care. And, when it’s too difficult to muster patience, kindness, and care, let’s have extra compassion for living in a difficult space.
- When having a difficult time, speak with yourself, or write a note, as if you were addressing a beloved friend.
- Turn on the music and dance. It can be as short as one song or make a playlist for a movement break.
- If you’re able, balance on one foot. Do it for a few seconds or for longer. It can improve your ability to be in the moment, especially in relationship to time and space.