“I think that guys are having a harder time with mental health during the Covid pandemic.”, my student asserted.

“You think so? Why?”, I questioned.

“We were talking over a glass of wine on Saturday night, and my boyfriend admitted he was finding it tough these days.”, she explained.

In the end, our discussion wasn’t so much about gender emotional intelligence differences, but rather: why do so many of us revert to glossing things over with a brave face (and posting it on Facebook), rather than admit we’re down in the dumps or upset?

why do so many of us revert to glossing things over with a brave face (and posting it on Facebook), rather than admit we’re down in the dumps or upset?

Toxic Positivity

Putting on a happy face 24/7 may sound like a wonderful, mature thing to do. However, it’s not realistic and it’s certainly not healthy, especially at a time like this.

Lately, I’ve seen a number of social media posts talking about toxic positivity, a concept that addresses the stiff upper lip mentality that we were taught growing up, with a healthier attitude of admitting feeling difficult emotions.

Responding to, “I’m worried about my kids. The school is closed down again.” with “Relax! Kids are resilient!”, or “Another business has just gone under. What’s going to happen to the economy?” with “At least we don’t live in … Imagine how they feel?” certainly doesn’t help anyone. Cute quips and platitudes neither validate the speaker nor acknowledge their courageous honesty.

Cute quips and platitudes neither validate the speaker nor acknowledge their courageous honesty.

Emotional Agility

I felt a sigh of relief when I read the LinkedIn post yesterday evening by Susan David, author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life. She gently reminded readers that bad feelings are feelings too. They need to be recognized and processed just like the positive ones. 

Feelings are messengers. What do they have to tell you? Listen closely, and dare to express the message, first to yourself, then to a trusted confidant. Use them to improve on your life experience, rather than ignore them.

Either way, sooner or later, they’ll come to the surface and demand that you respond to them, whether it be through an illness, an irrational act or an irresponsible verbal outlash.  

Feelings are messengers. What do they have to tell you?

Commitment #3 of Conscious Leadership

The third commitment of the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership that were identified by authors, Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Warner Klemp of the Hendricks Institute, address the issue of emotions in leadership. 

The following is quoted from the pdf you can source on their website (https://conscious.is/):

I commit to feeling my feelings all the way through to completion. They come, and I locate them in my body then move, breathe and vocalize them so they release all the way through.”  

Wrap-Up

Just like you perhaps, I’ve had a tough last couple of days dealing with a variety of things, mainly due to covid-related fallout. As I lay awake last night, my mind relentlessly racing, the thought occurred to me that self-compassion (or, if you prefer, self-care or parenting yourself), is ‘for such a time as this’.

Serendipitously, my meditation theme this morning was ahimsa, self-care.

So, let me finish with this: Your emotions are valid. You’re allowed to feel them. You’re allowed to express them (with wisdom). Cry if you need to. Be angry if you need to. Let it come. Let it go. Now ask yourself: What do I want? What do I need? What’s the first small step I can take?

Feeling the Covid blues? You ain’t the only one, dude! We’re all feeling our way through this tunnel together. Let us be the light for each other.

Keep learning! – Claire xo

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