Time for heartfelt check-ins with each other.
The insidious nature of anxiety is that it can be present without us being aware of it. Nonetheless it can direct our behaviour when it mixes with our existing beliefs about how to stay safe. One of these is to appear as though we have it all together; to show we are capable, competent and professional; that we can handle the heat in the kitchen! Meanwhile, lurking beneath the surface, is fear and anxiety about how things will turn out. This impacts our thoughts, decisions and behaviour whether we notice it or not.
A few days ago, I was speaking with a client who presented in her usual professional way. I know enough about human behaviour to know that at times like these most people are deeply concerned about a vast array of things that are completely justified. After the usual pleasantries I asked, “How are you doing personally?”. She dropped down into a more human response and shared what was on her mind: her concern about making the right decisions in these circumstances for her children. She is a very capable, competent and deeply thoughtful human being. It was obvious to me there was no way she would not be her thoughtful self in this situation. So I said so. She could rely on who she was. It is possible any one of us might make a mistake and if we did it would be a human one. The most important thing for her was to trust herself, who she is and her judgement. She said it helped to have someone say so. Helping each other to stay grounded and in touch with our strength and capability to navigate these times is very important. Human beings need each other in the best possible way.
Another dear friend and colleague in Europe when I connected with her, was in overload and overwhelm of the things she was needing to deal with: her husband in isolation in the home, children home for home schooling, feeling unwell herself and fearful she was now becoming infected. I knew she needed someone to be there with her and listen, feel how hard it was for her and acknowledge her experience. After some time, she reconnected with her strength herself, and made suggestions about some work ideas. Next thing she was full of her usual energy again. She reconnected with her true self.
It is likely that everyone will be having some moments of doubts or concern during this time. Holding each person with high regard and making time and space for that to be acknowledged and respected is often all that people need to feel strengthened and more resourceful. Anxiety decreases when we can acknowledge it, give it a proper place and stay connected to our capability. It important to see people as powerful beings who can handle difficulties, especially when we support each other.
Strong, warm, caring connections provide a strengthening effect for people to be able to face the challenges that are currently present, and will be, for the foreseeable future.