Ever hear the expression, “you should be kind because you never know what other people are going through”?
I’m gonna blow your mind right now —
You should also be kind to yourself because, friend, you probably have no idea what YOU are going through.
You might be like one of my clients, for example, who knew he was feeling some irritation, but when we explored his life and recent history, realized that it was actually deep grief he was coping with.
He wasn’t even aware that he was getting annoyed more often than usual. He didn’t know that irritation is a more common symptom of grief in men*.
How is it possible that my client had no idea he was grieving?
It may seem odd, but I encounter this all the time. People have little idea how they are really feeling. They, and probably YOU, walk around unaware of the emotional struggles that are affecting their daily lives.
Why do people not know what they are going through?
1) We stop noticing our feelings because we’ve been taught to ignore them.
We overlook our emotions because we grew up in a culture that taught us that productivity was more important than mental health. Ugh.
2) Our brains don’t track some feelings if they’ve been there a while. Essentially we get desensitized to them and forget they are impacting us.
So I’m gonna ask you now — is it possible you are coping with a LOT more than you’ve been giving yourself credit for?
Here’s how to find out:
- Take a moment and list out all the things in your life that you are dealing with. For example, getting your kids started at a new school, taking on a new client at work, or getting over the end of a relationship.
- Then take EACH item on your list and write a few words about how you FEEL about that. For example, sad, scared, uncertain.
- Review the entire list and all those feelings that are attached. See if you have a different level of respect for yourself and what you are managing each day.
When you look at your whole list, do you see that you are dealing with more than you realized? Does it make sense that maybe you need to give yourself some more grace for not unloading the dishwasher or forgetting an appointment?
What if you were to lower your high expectations of yourself, expectations that aren’t realistic or kind to you, and acknowledge that you’re in the thick of something?
Release the guilt and know that I see you.