Disappointment and Guilt During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Learning that your problems do matter
We all have a myriad of feelings during this time of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's so easy to get stuck in the mindset that we're the only one going through it; so easy to get caught up in the fear and disappointment.
A woman recently wrote this to me:
"I feel so disappointed that my school is pushed back, which makes all of my plans pushed back. It's a little discouraging because I worked so hard to get here and I was so close only to have to wait longer. I'm trying not to be a 2 year old about it but some days I can't help but cry in frustration. Then I feel guilty because other people are canceling such huge things in their life like weddings and graduations so I feel like I don't really have a right to be sad because it's not canceled, just pushed back. Then I feel selfish because this virus is serious and it's good that my school got pushed back. So many conflicting feelings! But I'm reminding myself that it's okay to feel what I feel as long as I don't set camp there. That it's okay to grieve."
I think it's important to remember that while yes, there are others out there who have struggled more or lost more, that doesn't diminish your struggles and your losses. They are no less important than anyone else's, big or small.
All of us have a ton of disappointments piling up on us, especially the past few weeks. My gourmet tea shop was going to be opening soon but due to the recent pandemic, that's been put on standby. On the other hand, my oldest son who is a senior in high school has to deal with the beginning of his entire life being put on hold. He's missing Prom, seeing his new girlfriend every day, and all those rights-of-passage events and feelings that come along with your last year in high school. Is either one more important than the other? It depends on what your definition of "important" is … but either way, both mean something to someone.
So it doesn't matter if you're struggling with a little tiny thing and someone next to you is struggling with a big thing … it's all a struggle. We're all going through loss and grieving and it doesn't matter what it's for or why, it just matters that we're grieving.
Allow yourself to feel that grief, to feel that disappointment. There's nothing wrong with that at all. It's perfectly acceptable in this type of situation to feel awful and miserable. Don't compare yourself to others, though. Just stand beside them and say, "Hey, my grief recognizes your grief. My disappointment recognizes your disappointment. Let's get through this together, and support each other, to where one day we look back on this and say, 'Eh, that wasn't so bad, and we made it through!'"
Just remember, don't diminish your own problems, fears or worries because someone else's might look bigger. You never know … they could be looking at your problem and saying, "Wow, I'm glad I don't have that problem". It doesn't make it any less important. It doesn't make it any less worthy of feeling. Just don't get stuck in that worry, anxiety, disappointment and grief. Keep moving. You will get through it. We'll all get through this, together.
Rachel Miller is a 40 Under 40 honoree and founder of The Zen Fox. See her recent videos at The Zen Fox Community.