We're In This Together, But...
...we also have to be personally responsible, now more than ever. I'm about to get personal, so read on if you're interested in that ;)
I'm sure we are all feeling an intense array of emotions all at one time. It's not surprising to feel overwhelmed. It's a feeling of being out of control, not knowing how to feel at a particular time or in response to an event, because everything is happening at once. I feel a pressure to be handling it well...in the "right" way, but all I can do is my best. It's taking a lot of energy to figure out what's best.
We are navigating in uncertain times, to be sure. We can't count on our routines, normal patterns of our lives, or assumptions. Nothing is "normal". We can't live the way we did before COVID - on autopilot, along our familiar tracks. We were comfortable in our assumptions that were always confirmed, day after day, and now we are uncomfortable. We cannot rest in the comfort of our old assumptions. It's time to be mindful, intentional, curious, adaptive, open, and accountable. It's time to focus on personal responsibility.
Lately, it's not enough to use what knowledge and understanding I already have to determine what's best. I am a lawyer, so the disintegration of our democracy, loss of any sense of justice and fairness, and the dismantling of truth was already weighing heavily on me before COVID and the murder of George Floyd. I've studied the Constitution, and, in order to practice law in the federal courts, I took the same oath sworn by judges, congress men/women, and presidents. I know that what is happening is just WRONG.
But I don't have the historical knowledge, vocabulary, and understanding of both infectious disease and racism that I need now to decide what's best. So I am educating myself, reading, listening, studying, taking notes. Personal responsibility takes effort, people. It's time to do the work.
This atmosphere of intense emotional upset is affecting different people differently. We're all raw and vulnerable, and feelings buried for a long time are surfacing for us all. As a mom, I am feeling my kids' emotions and fears, their anger, as well as my own. I feel an obligation as their mom to ease the burden on them. But taking on their feelings for them is not what they need. Doing for them what I would do if I felt what they feel isn't what they need. They need to know their feelings are valid, but that they are responsible for them, and taking on this responsibility myself is doing them a disservice. They won't learn how to process these emotions for themselves if I do it for them. I'm sorting out these responsibilities. What's mine, what's theirs, to teach them personal responsibility.
I'm trying to do my best. It's all I can do.