If my mom was still alive, she would have turned 90 just recently. There are many ways in which we can process a loss and carry on a loved one’s legacy. They might have taught us something or embody something worth continuing. Or there are things they have done or not done that you decide to do differently. That, too, is their gift to you. In fact, both might be the case. Processing a loss often includes being comfortable with ambiguity.
COVID-19 has created an unusual situation for our marriages and close love relationships. Suddenly many couples were forced to live and work in close quarters, often struggling with financial hardships and worried about their health, about educating and entertaining their children at home and about the future in general. The close and constant proximity has highlighted their differences and accentuated their conflicts and doubts to a point where the pressure has become unbearably painful.
Our personal life story is never just a summary of facts and events. We as the narrator cannot help but interpret what happened. What is essential is how we integrate the facts and events internally into a coherent story which has characters and a plot line that weaves it all together and gives meaning to the events. We can explore how our stories are serving us, but also how they are holding us back. Our stories always reflect the beliefs we have internalized about ourselves, our relationships, other people and the world in general.
Who loves adversity and especially a crisis like the one we are all facing right now? Right! Our Inner Critic! Our Inner Critic is that nagging voice inside, which is trying to protect us by letting us know in which ways we are “faulty” or not doing enough. No matter how well we are doing, the Inner Critic will find something that apparently needs to be improved, and it loves to compare us to others who are supposedly doing better or more.
My e-mail box is overflowing with e-mail offers for online games, online movie nights, online network meetings, online community meetings, online social gatherings and there seems no end to this. There is a productivity frenzy as everybody seems to be moving lectures, groups and workshops online as fast as they can. And, I freely admit this, I felt myself being pulled into this for a bit and feeling the pressure and rush. But what is really behind this activity and productivity frenzy?
Psychologist and attorneys predict that the divorce rates all over the world will rise once we have made it through this stressful situation COVID-19 has brought us. As a relationship coach, I simply have to challenge that statement. We can resign to separations and divorces, or we can use this time period to improve all our relationships but especially our partnerships or marriages.
It has been imprinted on our psyche that holidays are the time to spend with our family and loved ones. But what if we are still grieving the loss of a family member who has passed, or we live in a split-up family, or we cannot seem to make the dream of a family come true, or we are experiencing the loss of our health, our job, our pet, our home and so on? How do we get through the holidays when they deepen our sadness and magnify our pain.