I think we have to be extra kind to each other right now. I'm noticing in my work with clients, with things my friends and family are going through, and in my own life that there is this extra level of buzz, tenderness, and sensitivity that seems to go with more things than not right now. Tension runs high, misunderstandings feel faster, lots of flux in people's jobs and life decisions and relationships, some more "proving it" and "covering my booty" energy is showing up especially in corporate players (which is like literally the last thing our culture needs right now) -- not to mention politics, global warming, the latest in Texas, and oh, ya... the pandemic and... everything else.
There are also extra levels of ambiguity, anxiety, disconnect, and demand. In many cases, there are extra levels of hope, determination, grit, coming together, and pushing back on that demand. Some are at their greatest low and in "triage," some are rocking it, and in "optimization."
These two positions alone can create an extra gap, disconnect, and tension in a relationship. It doesn't matter if it's in a marriage or in a team -- the same principles apply -- we're all humans, having a very human experience, we're unique, and we need each other. So how do we "find" each other when we're in different places?
Another thing I'm noticing is that our triggers are extra up. After a year-and-a-half in a global pandemic, working remotely, and being isolated from workers and loved ones in ways we've not been before, it's easier to take things personally, to make up stories, to feel excluded, and to feel even more disconnected and off-track. Not only that, I remember reading an article when this all started that in times like this, our trauma gets reactivated from previous events. It all comes up. And there is more healing to do. I know this has been true for me and I've seen it with others.
The thing is, we all have trauma -- it's unique to each of us, and there's no way anyone else can know what that trauma is -- so as we walk around the world right now and engage with each other, we risk pushing people's buttons with our responses, actions, and even energy. It's not intentional. It happens. If we're lucky, we realize what's happened and we can ask for help or clean it up. If we're not aware, it just adds to the accumulation of stress and further disconnect.
Which all brings me back to this... let's just be extra nice to each other for a minute (and maybe even forever). Let's have a bit more grace and assumption of good. Let's be aware that we all have tender underbellies and what I call "tender agendas" (that real thing that lives under the anger or reaction). Let's ask for help when we need it. Let's offer our presence and support when others do. Let's do our own work and healing at the same time. And let's not make stuff up, but lean into the idea that everyone is doing their best, we're all finding our way, and we might just "not know how yet" when we have unintended impact.
How about if we all just give ourselves, and each other, a break?
If we each do this, we're playing a whole new game with a very rich conversation and a healthier, more nourishing (and effective) culture moving forward. I'm up for that game. You?
Have a beautiful day.