Last week I found myself frequently welling up with tears as I listened to all the people dying from the COVID pandemic. When people told their personal stories of sickness and loss it pulled my heart out of my chest and made me terribly sad.
Despite the sense of community sadness engulfing me, I never reached the point of the “boo-hoo” level of crying. I just spent about three days on the verge of it. I published a few articles here on LinkedIn, and they were picked up by BIZCATALYST 360°. In one article I was being a little ridiculous with my optimism. It was called Go Find Your Rose Colored Glasses. I took the position optimism is a choice. Instead of hunkering down and talking about survival, we should be actively seeking ways to move this unexpected environment into something positive. OK…it was one way to look at the situation.
Then the very next day I found myself on the other side of the optimism spectrum. I was sad, lethargic and felt intensely guilty for thinking it is as simple as changing your personal outlook. I was sad and almost crying most of the time. I wrote Vulnerability – Good or Bad and Dennis picked it up for BIZCATALYST 360° again.
Today’s Outlook is Different
It seems as if I have reached the point where unreasonable optimism and uncontrollable sadness are both behind me. The 1966 song mentioned in the title has been in the background of my brain for several days. I decided to look it up. All I remembered was:
Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying. Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on.
Turns out the song was recorded by a one-hit-wonder garage band called 96 Tears and sung by the Mysterians. The lyrics told the story of someone who was dumped and wanted to get back with his old girlfriend so he could dump her and she would cry. The song was very popular, with its catchy tune and repeated lyrics about too many teardrops. It has hung around in my brain for a long time.
Measured Optimism and Grace
So how does this song relate to how I am feeling these days?
In a single day, I can swing from my normal optimistic outlook to great sadness. When the media talks about the fact things will get worse before they get better, my heart aches for all the people who are afraid. While I feel a bit of anxiety when I must get groceries, I can’t claim to feel fear myself, but it hangs in the air as people rush by and avoid making eye contact.
I bristle with anger when I hear someone say “just my luck” when talking about the fact they anticipate having to personally deal with this mutant virus. I ask WHY???? Why would anyone lay claim to such luck? Don’t they know words have creative ability?
My anger is not a solution for them or me…but I feel it. I sometimes want to slap them upside their head and say “Get a grip!”
I’m very confident I will not get the virus and these are the reasons why:
- I’m careful. Last week I used gloves at the grocery store and Lysol wipes on the cart. I disinfected the things I brought into my home and wash my hands all the time.
- This week, my carefulness is up another notch. I have given into the idea of covering my face. I have some cheap disposable masks (3 of them). Since I don’t know how long I will need to make them last, I am wearing a washable scarf over the paper mask. It’s uncomfortable and looks weird. But I feel it is just being responsible at this point.
- Optimism is my default condition. And, as a professional writer, I know the power of words. While I will admit to times of sadness, I will NEVER make statements about the eventuality of getting the virus. I don’t want it and so I won’t claim it.
- Grace – When I Googled to find a definition fitting my perception of grace, nothing really fit. I am certainly not graceful, by any definition of the word. It seems my perception of grace comes from the Biblical meaning when it talks about the forgiveness (grace) of God. I often talk about giving myself grace. In my mind, it is similar to God’s lack of judgment about our human frailties. I am a big believer in imperfection and even have a blog about it.
Perhaps my use of the word grace is inappropriate. I will still use it. If someone wants to try to correct my error in word usage, I will listen. It simply feels right for the part of me who is comfortable with my human faults. I can’t think of a better time in my history when giving myself grace has been more important than now.
While I am not spending all my time on what I have been trained to do and limiting my effort to “dollar productive activities”, I am moving forward. I’m working with a publisher and memoir author and have several clients with a small amount of work for me to do.
Normally, I would be in a frenzy of marketing activity in the places where I find time away from client work. I need more revenue. I’m doing some of it, but not much. Instead, I am going to have faith in my gut feelings. Yes, I am using a Biblical word for a personal philosophy again. It works for me.
When I get out of my way and listen to the “still small voice” in my gut, I seem to discover the most awesome things. In order to do this, I have to set aside my always in control busyness and listen intently.
This is my goal right now. I will listen.
I won’t listen very much to all the doom, gloom and sad statistics.
I won’t listen very much to all the people offering advice about how to get through this awful time.
I won’t listen to my business head telling me to get moving on marketing campaigns.
Instead, I will listen to my heart (gut feelings) and give myself the grace to “waste time” when it feels right. I will have faith in my guidance system telling me what needs to be done next by me.
I’m done with the guilt, sadness, and opinions about what anyone else should do. I don’t should on myself and I won’t should on them. I will still my brain and be in the moment. I will profit from this change of pace.