A couple of weeks ago we did a drive by for my grandson’s seventh birthday. It was the second grandchild birthday that I’ve had to miss due to the Covid pandemic. It was also the first time since quarantining that I’d actually seen any of my grandchildren in person.
We did the drive by and stopped and chatted for a bit with my son and daughter-in-law – all of this from inside of our car while they stood on their driveway. We said hi to the kids and watched them play. And then, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I said to my husband, “We’ve got to go.” I held it together, smiled, and waved goodbye to them all. But as soon as we pulled away, I began to sob. Ugly crying. The whole way home.
I told myself that I needed to calm down and stop the rivers because others have it much worse. People are sick and dying. Others can’t be with their loved ones who are sick. People are out of work. And I’m crying simply because I miss my grandchildren. How selfish of me.
The “I’m being selfish because I’m upset about ______ when others have it so much worse” mentality is a common one, particularly among women. What this mentality does is that it completely invalidates our feelings.
Our own emotions and feelings are always important and valid. And it’s healthy to let them out and be aware of them.
What is not healthy is to repress them because we feel that they’re not important enough to share – either internally or with our loved ones.
We are all living in a time when there is so much uncertainty. Most of us have never experienced anything like this. Anxiety levels are high even on a seemingly good day. So, when we find ourselves in an emotional situation, our breaking point is much more easily reached.
Here are 5 strategies to get you through those pity party times:
Allow yourself to feel the feelings that are eating you on the inside and have a good cry.
If you don’t do this already, start a journal – writing down your feelings is very cathartic. Missing these kiddos so intensely has inspired me to start a “grandma journal” to help me feel more connected to them until we can be together again.
Whether you choose the nearby park or the woods in your backyard, take a long brisk walk in the fresh air to clear your head and simply breathe in.
Reach out to a friend who “gets it.” You’re really not alone in this situation and mutually sharing your feelings can be beneficial for both parties.
While feeling guilty because someone else may have a worse situation than you is not a healthy place to be, being able to have perspective can help. Being aware that others are suffering, even as you are suffering, is not selfish.
In fact, it demonstrates a level of empathy, compassion, and selflessness. Having this perspective, as long as you are not denying yourself your real feelings in the process, can help you begin to practice gratitude. And being grateful and sad at the same time is real and possible.
We have to allow ourselves to feel our feelings and to validate them. We have to, these days more than ever, be kind to ourselves.
Have you had any pity parties for yourself during the pandemic? Did you feel guilty about them because others have it worse? What strategies are you using to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind? Please share with our community and let’s have a conversation!