Everything is fine…
The age-old adage for perfectionists: “It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.” It’s the perfect mindset to pummel through any difficult situation by trying to ignore or suppress the deep feelings of uncertainty and agony of a serious situation. It’s a fairy tale to pretend that we are above it all and that we are not affected by the circumstances that impact us every day. But today, everything isn’t fine. Do you notice that when you’re complaining about any COVID-19 related mishaps you feel ashamed for venting when you know others are having such a harder time? I know I’m guilty of this, too. It creates a loop of feeling frustrated about a problem (there may be some self-bashing, too about how you’re to blame) and ON TOP OF THAT, the shame of feeling ungrateful for your situation. The pesky thoughts about “I’m not doing enough!” nag more often.
Everything is not fine.
Are there some positives to this situation? Yes, and it’s also okay to recognize those. It doesn’t make you tone-deaf to the troubles of our world to appreciate them. But, many aspects of our lives are changing rapidly and it’s okay to express the discomfort or frustration. It doesn’t make you ungrateful. Being fakely positive is unhealthy and well, it’s fake. So, listen to how you express your frustration. Are you calling this “hell”? Are you calling yourself names or speaking in global terms of “everything is just terrible?” Or are you focusing on the specific issue and trying to deal with it?
We can be grateful for what we have and still be bothered. We can make sense of both. One doesn’t cancel out the other. How we deal with the frustration and how we adjust to the changes makes a world of a difference.
Eva Benemeleh, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, focusing on kids, teens, and parents. Working through the would’s, should’s, and heavy expectations that are holding you back from living an authentic life.