Lockdown 2.0: Recognition or Avoidance
As the sun sets on day 2 of Lockdown 2.0 in London, I am organising through the thoughts, feelings and experiences of today.
This post is slightly more personal, I come away from the role of an observer and step into my participation shoes.
As a Humanistic Therapist I don’t really reside in a position of expertise, however there’s a slight lean towards a more neutral and observational stance than can be perceived in peer to peer interactions. This stands especially true when it comes to disclosure and sharing a personal process.
I am making a conscious decision to share that process today as it is revolving around how human we all are, and how the pandemic has been an arena to demonstrate that.
When I put my therapist hat on I am able to see the nuances of all that is going on and how it layers to impact us in individual yet relatable ways. I have some distance in this observation process.
When I put my human hat back on and un-park my personal life and opinions, I lose that distance and I start struggling to accept that I am impacted by what’s happening and certainly how much I am impacted.
There’s a part of me that expects “to do better" and "know better”. And that is the part that needs voicing and "exposure".
It says "Do better!" or "Know better!" And these are two of the many messages of shame. And as many researchers and experts agree, the way to deal with these shame messages is by shedding some light and sharing with others.
So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I believe in modelling behaviour as a peer dynamic that helps me stay in touch with compassion and empathy and the humanness that's on both sides, in therapeutic relationships as well as everywhere else in life.
Appreciation for humanness in the form of compassion and empathy are now more needed than ever. And a way to access them is vulnerability.
It's like resilience, we could even argue that it’s a part of it. It is like a muscle that needs regular exercise. When my vulnerability muscle is in top shape, I get less involved in the shame messages my mind fires up. When that muscle is weakened, I am a lot more susceptible to believing the shame messages that come up.
This year practicing vulnerability has been even harder. Lockdown 2.0 is quickly reminding me of that and summarising it into a perspective. Posts, photos, live stories, comments, text messages, voicenotes, voice calls and even video calls come with obstacles in the way of practicing vulnerability.
Gratitude can be expressed for all the technological means of keeping in touch this year. And it's also important to not hide behind the gratitude and point out that communicating remotely depletes a part of the resilience battery.
We all know that communication is about 75-85% non verbal. What we can forget is that when we are communicating remotely we use energy to make up for some of the non verbal cues and that energy is an "extra" spend that without recognition goes un-replenished.
My approach to this is maintaining awareness and through that practicing self-compassion and keeping the shame messages at bay. It doesn't resolve the cause but it reinforces the resilience shield.
Accepting the circumstances we are in saves us a lot of energy, it's also easy to slip into normalising what isn't normal, disowning the impact and involuntarily shaming each other.
Awareness and recognition over normalising the struggles and difficulties of our time.