Living during a pandemic such as the current COVID-19 virus is a ripe time for looking outward and feeling fear. However, a pandemic is also a ripe time for turning inward and discovering our strength, desire, and truth. Dr. Irvin Yalom, one of the developers of existential psychotherapy says, “Though the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death may save us.” But with so much turbulence in our current circumstances and so much fear in our mind and bodies, how do we channel this pandemic for our personal growth and the growth of our community? I propose we need regular practices of regulating, observing, listening, and acting. Today’s post is on acting.
Being face-to-face with fear, suffering, and even the idea of our death can be a debilitating or liberating experience, depending on how we choose to respond. When we listen to our fears deeply enough, we often find that they are simply trying their best to protect that which is most authentic and meaningful to us: our truth. Once we get in touch with ourselves, as described in the previous posts, all that is left to do is take action. Taking action for yourself looks different for everyone, but here are a few examples:
- If you’re longing for peace and feel emotionally overwhelmed, you might start practicing deep breathing exercises or schedule an online teletherapy appointment.
- If you’re wishing to reconnect with someone you’ve lost contact or closeness with, you might reach out to share how much you’ve missed them and ask how they’re doing.
- If you’re wishing for a more fulfilling job, you might begin waking up early to research meaningful job options.
- If you’re wishing for a deeper connection with your kids, you might ask them if you can join in what they’re interested in, ask them deeper questions, or get more eye contact or snuggling.
- If you’re hoping to have children, you might initiate a conversation with your partner, or an adoption or surrogacy agency.
- If you’re desiring a more satisfying sex life, you may read a book on creating the sex life you want and experiment with what self-pleasure looks like for you.
- If you want more exercise or alone time, etc, put it on your schedule and make a specific plan for it.
- If you’re longing to come out to others about your gender identity or sexual orientation, you may contact an LGBTQ+ community center near you for what offerings they have online right now or consider teletherapy with an LGBTQ+ specialist.
One way I took action for myself and my truth was saying yes to an opportunity to write more at work, even when it meant facing my own insecurities about being vulnerable in front of others.
Whatever you’re wanting more or less of in your life, take one simple action toward that future reality. Remember, acting on your own behalf without the other practices of regulating, observing, and listening will likely lead to burnout or despair. You want your actions to come from your truth. Happiness is not getting to an end location, it is knowing we are going in the right direction. Lastly, practice gentleness with yourself.
As your circumstances and safety allow, why not use this time of imposed solitude to more deeply discover and bring out the authentic you. When you bring your authentic self out and live your truth you’re also helping create a more genuine and connected society where others feel safe being authentic too.
I hope something from these practices of regulating, observing, listening and acting stand out as helpful for you as you face reality in a new way during and after this pandemic. A mental health practitioner can be a great support person for helping you implement these types of practices. I’d be glad to help you get an online teletherapy appointment scheduled with one of our therapists here at Deep Eddy. You can contact me at 512-956-MIND (6463) or [email protected].
By: Sean Williams, Deep Eddy Psychotherapy Scheduling Team