- Alyssa Abrahamson
Breakdowns and breakthroughs
How are you holding up?
Honestly, I’ve been doing really well. Until this past week.
For the past several weeks I’ve had my ups and downs but overall, I’ve been very much up. I’ve stayed grounded, happy, positive. I’ve been doing my daily yoga, going for walks, eating well, sleeping well, and talking to friends and family A LOT. More than usual, and I actually kinda needed a break from being so dang social! You feel me?!
But then last week, anger, sadness, and loneliness hit.
Yes, PMS had a little something to do with it, but a wise friend of mine told me that I don’t need to blame PMS for being angry, and crying all day. It’s okay to feel those emotions anytime, and it’s healthy.
She’s right. This is an angry, sad, and lonely time for many of us.
What was I most sad about? What was I missing and needing? Human contact and connection. I live with myself, and although I take pride in my independence and ability to be “alone,” the isolation and loneliness finally struck me, hard.
So, I went there and let it all out. I was so angry. I was so sad. I was so jealous of people with balconies and back yards and roommates and live-in partners and laundry machines and pets!
I learned long ago not to suppress my emotions, so I allowed myself to really feel the grief, anger, sadness.
But, I had finally arrived: my first coronavirus breakdown!
Then I realized I also had my first coronavirus breakthrough!
It’s okay to feel strong, good, independent, and at the same time mourn the lack of physical touch and human connection. I mourn the temporary loss of going to my favorite cafe, having friends over for dinner, a quick trip to the grocery store for vegan ice cream, hopping on the subway to run an errand in Manhattan and so on. Who else misses lines at the airport!? Well, maybe not that!?
Some of us are having breakdowns. Some of us are having breakthroughs. Some of us are having both. And hell, some of us are having neither.
With the current coronavirus situation and life as we’ve known it changing before our very eyes, we are all coping in the ways we know how and learning to cope in new ways. Bottom line, we’re all doing the best we can.
For me, healthy and healing coping is all about self-compassion. Yes, self-love and self-care are critical, but what I advocate is SELF-COMPASSION.
Self-compassion is being kind and gentle with yourself, in your mind and in your deeds. It’s turning love, acceptance, and understanding inward. Self-compassion is when you extend compassion to yourself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or suffering.
Self-compassion is listening to your detrimental thoughts without judgement.
Self-compassion is not “shoulding” on yourself when you have time to take a free online class or learn a new hobby and you really just don’t feel like it.
Self-compassion is letting go of feeling guilty for feeling happy when others are suffering.
Self-compassion is watching Netflix all day, guilt-free.
When you open your heart to yourself, just as much as you open your heart to your best friends and loved ones, you can help bring healing to yourself and the world.
Breakdown? Breakthrough? Where are you?
I've got an exercise for you: What is one thing you can do today to be more compassionate with yourself?
P.S. Wanted: Your Feedback! Please take this 3 minute survey about how I can be most helpful to you during this time. The more I know about what you want, the more I can help you. Here’s the survey link again, and thank you!
April 21, 2020