Ever since I began studying as a life coach, long before it was “a thing,” I’ve felt this push to set goals, take action, keep moving forward, no matter what. Bigger, better, stronger, faster, always future focused, for fear of ever slipping backward. Back then it was Tony Robbins and his best seller, Awaken The Giant Within; now we have Mel Robbins’ 5-4-3-2-1, The 5 Second Rule strategy, (i.e., “Just do it!”). For over a dozen years now, “Go get ‘em tiger!” has pretty much been my motto, for my clients and myself. And now, what a great time to pause and wonder, where were we all going in such a hurry anyway? Have we actually arrived?
Many of my old financial planning clients used to tell me that what mattered most was their family, friends, and the love they shared. It’s really difficult to express that love right now. We’re either all on top of each other in tight living quarters, or we’re spread thousands of miles across country and are being told to stay put.
Let’s try to apply Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. First there’s “Words of Affirmation.” Do you look at your partner as he walks down the hall to his office with his coffee and slippers and say, “Wow! Your hair looks great today!” What about “Gifts?” I suppose we have to do more than surprise our loved ones with toilet paper! Unfortunately, we really do have to be mindful of what we bring home. “Acts of Service” are easier to come by, and likely more pleasing to those around us. For me, I’m not only helping people manage their extra anxiety these days, but I’m also cooking, washing dishes, cleaning the floors and doing lots of yard work. Cross it off the list! Chapman says that all of these activities count as “Acts of Service.”
Numbers four and five are “quality time” and “physical touch.” My clients tell me they’re getting more than enough “quality” time with their families right now; what they seem to crave more is alone time. (This, of course, varies depending on the size of the living area and number of family members who didn’t want to shelter at home alone.) Last, physical touch…well, that’s pretty much forbidden right now except for those already around us. We can only hope for the time when we can safely hand out “free hugs” to more of our loved ones again!
My point is, it may indeed be difficult to have hope right now, feel gratitude for everything we have and everything we are. It may be challenging to find something to look forward to when we can’t be certain when we’ll get to see our mothers, friends and grandkids again. I’m here to tell you, it’s ok if you can’t muster up gratitude right now, aren’t wholly optimistic, or feeling real positive today. You’re not in denial and your head isn’t in the sand; you’re feeling what’s real. You’re seeing people die by the hundreds every day, without rhyme or reason, and you’re sad, angry, frustrated. Let it be. Just allow it to be what it is right now. For more on this, read Byron Katie’s Loving What Is.