Whenever tragedy strikes or tough times fall, we say things like “we’re all in this together” or “we’re all in the same boat.” But if we’re honest, we are NOT in the same boat – and we all know it. Instead, as Damian Barr put it:
“We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm.”
Right now, the storm is global, we’re calling it 2020/COVID-19 and it’s been a clusterf*ck doozy. And if you’re like my clients – your boat might be a little closer to the “super-yacht” scenario than the up-shit-creek-without-a-paddle kind…and you’re not sure how to feel about that.
On the one hand, you’re grateful to be relatively secure from a basic-needs-for-survival standpoint. But you also feel guilty or you fear being judged for not seeming as affected as everyone else is by the storm that is 2020. You’re not worried about when your unemployment will run out or if you’ll be hired back when the office reopens or making rent or being able to afford groceries. Instead, quarantine has brought you face-to-face with the same problems you had pre-covid like job and relationship dissatisfaction, feeling stuck in old hurts you fear will never heal, or trying to ignore a nagging sense that everything sucks when nothing is obviously wrong.
Listen – that’s okay. Really, it is. It is okay if your struggles are different than what you’re seeing represented in the headlines and social media posts. It’s okay to still be focused on personal development and growth and resolving old hurts and wounds. There is no hierarchy for pain and suffering in my office, even during COVID.
This isn’t me masking sarcasm with a sincere tone of voice and saying “Oh honey, your first-world problems are absolutely valid”. It doesn’t matter what world your problems are from – they matter. And, if I can be frank with you for a minute, your job right now, in this global storm, is to take care of your boat and any problems you find with it – not judge whether or not the problem warrants a solution based on the problems other boats have.
In therapy, my clients learn how to hold equal space for themselves and others, rather than minimizing their needs and settling for what’s leftover at the end of the day. By getting to the root of hurt and dissatisfaction in their lives, they find clarity and experience healing. And as they do, they become ships that are equipped with the resources and capacity to help those that are taking on too much water too fast right now without sacrificing their own well-being in the process.
So, if you’re ready to start your work, whatever it may be, I’m here for it. And I promise, whether or not you think it compares to the tragic headlines in today’s news, it matters just as much to me.
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This illustration was done by Barbara Kelley to accompany a quote of mine used by a columnist in @wsj “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some of us are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.’ Hoping for smoother seas soon. And a fairer world after. #hopeful #kindnessmatters❤️ #coronaart #shipsatsea #damianbarr #litsalon