In various parts of the world, the Covid-19 lockdown regulations are starting to get lifted. Whether you have spent this time on your own or with others, you may have reacted to the imposed isolation the spread of the Coronavirus has brought us in ways that might have surprised you. I have actually been contacted by a large number of people who have spent quite a bit of time re-evaluating their lives and what they want, even who they are at the core.
Many articles have been written about, mainly focusing on the importance to have a routine or to focus on the positives, etc… However, I feel it’s not enough and that it’s crucial to push that reflection to a deeper level. If you are wondering about your relationships (or lack of…) and your life, it’s important to spend the time to think properly and a constructive manner, in order to allow you to turn whatever negative situation into something that could change everything for the better, as opposed to continuing living in a prison you have created in your own mind and for yourself.
This is the perfect opportunity to press the reset button before life passes you by, because too many people have been busy surviving instead of living… So now is the time to make changes.
Rediscover who you are… And others!
Over time, we evolve… Everyone does. In most relationships, people feel that they know each other pretty well and that’s most probably true. When you spend a long time with someone, you instinctively know how they will react to certain things, how they like their toast buttered or how strong their cup of tea should be. You get used to these things and all of their other little quirks. You probably think that you know yourself pretty well too?
But as time goes on and we plod through the hamster wheel of life, we forget to reassess. We forget to acknowledge how we might have changed and what no longer serves us. We do most things out of habit, not just what we actually do, but what we watch, the people we see… And when we feel that there is a disconnect, we retreat in our own shells and we stop sharing ‘the little things’, whether with a partner or those close to us, family & friends alike.
These little things are all the little insignificant things that we feel don’t really matter because the time isn’t quite right or it’s not adequate, we don’t want to bother or we need to take one of the kids to a club, rush to work or cook dinner quickly. Basically, all of the times when we think that we’ll talk about whatever later.
Unfortunately, all these little things that we think aren’t important will create something big one day and in time, create a massive void between people. Slowly but surely, their paths start to move in different directions and you realise that the person you thought you knew so well has become a stranger. And incidentally, you have become a stranger to them too…
If you truly stop and think, do you know who you are? Who you have become? And what about your partner, husband/ wife, friends? Do you see them as they were 10 years ago or as they have become?
Remember to communicate properly with others
Communication is often something that’s misunderstood and done very badly. In a family setting, it can often revolves around chores, blame and what wasn’t done right (or just not done). Real communication is actually about sharing your deeper self, your thoughts and dreams, your emotions, your fears and your feelings, your hopes and what you’d like to happen or do. And if you are single and dating, this is just as crucial as you are setting the foundations of the future relationship. But sometimes, we feel that we can’t do that because we are not given the space and time to do so…
It is equally as important to always say things or voice your needs as they are because hints are a waste of time. Forget assumptions too and instead, listen… Really listen. Listen to what people are really saying as opposed to what you want to hear or not hear. Let them speak without interruptions and express themselves. Respect their opinions and feelings instead of trying to convince them that your ways are better. Show them empathy and treat each other with kindness instead of barking at one another and creating an environment only harboring criticism or contempt.
Frustration & arguments
Being alone in between 4 walls can be extremely frustrating. All of the things that you were previously doing to stop yourself from spending any time on your own and with your own thoughts probably had to be put on hold, leaving you in a place that isn’t particularly pleasant. Take the time to face up to those thoughts and to do something about them…
In the next breath, those living within a household would probably kill for some time on their own! And especially if things have been patchy, there’s a good chance the atmosphere will be even more tense than in a pressure cooker. Living in close proximity and in uncertain circumstances where fear and death have been thrusted down our throats at every possible opportunity, will have created a fairly negative environment. And because we have not had any real ways to escape, it will have led to arguments and frustration.
So what can you do to turn it around?
First of all, you need to accept that these circumstances will be testing for most people but it is how you choose to react to them that will make a massive difference.
Secondly, the frustration you are experiencing isn’t actually to do with the fact that you don’t want to be on your own or that someone didn’t do this or that properly, or even that they’re not taking this or that seriously enough. It’s much deeper than that… and it’s all to do with control.
Control is what we do when we are in a place of uncertainty because it makes us feel better. Quite literally, it gives us the impression of power where nothing can touch us. Unfortunately, the control has been taken away from us because the enemy we are fighting is invisible and has stopped us from doing simple things that we took for granted. Whether that’s travelling wherever in the world and whenever we want to, shopping like we used to, popping over a friend’s for a cup of tea or even hugging people, we just don’t know when we will be able to do that again.
Control permeates every aspect of our lives and is a very deep need within us because it makes us feel safe and reassures us. This virus is quite literally representative of all our fears and need for control but at the same time, highlighting our actual lack of it so it makes us feel powerless.
However, you need to remember that control is only a perception. Having choices is what gives us the idea of control and at the moment, there aren’t many decisions to be made apart from what to watch on TV or what supermarket to go to for the weekly shop. And if you look back just a few weeks ago, we couldn’t even control toilet roll…
We wrongly believe that control leads to happiness so in the current climate, the best thing you can do is to let go and reframe the situation. Yes, it’s easier said than done… But we need to remember that it could also be far worse. Most people in the western world are actually safe under their own roofs, have running water so can wash their hands regularly (therefore protect themselves), don’t have to hide from bombs and have a good chance to actually have a chance of survival and to be taken to a hospital should they need to. or various other attacks.
So if you find yourself struggling, remember that the deep root cause may not be what you think it is. Look at ways of how you can handle the situation differently, your own self talk and how you can turn things around. This time of uncertainty is probably a blessing for many, to learn more about themselves and others, to own their own feelings and bring in the change their lives might need so that an unsatisfactory situation can be turned into something good…