So Much Fear, So Little Time (to Process)

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The anger and frustration is palpable. There is so much in me and around me… the Fun house mirrors are exponentially multiplying the feelings; it is not fun or novel or interesting anymore. So many people in my life are exhausted too, anxious and wide-eyed with______.

Fear. And it is coming from so many directions these days, internally and externally.

Behind a lot (most?) of the anger, anxiety, frustration, depression, seems to be fear.

Humans on this planet are so fearful. Everything we knew is turned upside down. We don’t know what our fall brings, or winter. Or 2021. The fear we feel is valid and understandable! We literally live in danger if we carry on with our life as if there is no virus. Everything we know about our work, our socializing, our learning, our caring for our families has changed. And change is hard for many people, debilitating for some.

The next time you encounter an angry, depressed, anxious, or frustrated loved one, we can ask them about the fear, and see if empathizing with it helps to helps to ease the pain(rather than resignation, or talking them out of it, or trying to be a devil’s advocate, or taking it on as anger at ourselves).

It is my go-to emotion to lash out in anger when really, I am just afraid. I find it easier to unleash my inner Tough Guy and raise my voice than lift the curtain to see what is bothering me. Is it yours as well? Don’t we have more colors in the crayon box to use than sad, angry, or happy? Can we help our kids (and ourselves in the process) to process their feelings by asking kind, empathizing questions to guide them along their own path of their emotions?

1-Noticing the go-to response is the 1st step (that means saying “I notice you seem angry/frustrated/overwhelmed/whatever emotion they are showing). Then we peel back a layer and ask “What is the feeling about?” is 2nd step. Name it.

2-Claim it; we all have valid reasons for the emotion. What are they? That is step 2.

3-Then finally you are face to face with the big tough guy, and you can ease the giant into a chair to have a chat. That is how we Tame it. “Tell me about that emotion. What does it feel like to be afraid?”

Good luck Sweet Mama, this is not easy, helping our children navigate all of their emotions while we may have a tenuous, moment to moment hold on our own fears. But it is clear that this virus is not going away, we still need to be mindful of everyone’s safety and health, and frustrations and fears will continue to come!

It is ok, we can keep on learning and adapting. And loving. and healing.

“I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I’ve found that kindness is the best way.”

~Lady Gaga

Note- this is a variation on a previous post Name It, Claim It, Tame It published back in April 2020 about our own strong emotions.

PS- My fear causing me so much emotion was a) that I would die and my kids would be left all alone in the world. Or b) we would become homeless. After I sat down and wrote about what was and was not in my control, made a will, and looked at my job prospects, I felt better. Action towards solutions always helps me feel better.

Check out my new book “21 Days to Some Inner Peace for Single Moms, Reframing the Chaos: Be Present”.  Available here on kindle and coming soon in paperback.