Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40
Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7
We have been dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis for the better part of 3 months now, and it has been wearing on us mentally and emotionally. For many, it has brought horrible physical suffering. But everyone has been affected somehow by this loathsome little virus.
I noticed a few weeks ago that I was irritable, carrying a low level of anger that seemed to have no real basis. I was building a bit of a “grievance story” to use the words of Frederic Luskin, author of Forgive for Good. A grievance story is a narrative that we build up when we have been wronged, or perceive that we have been wronged. That story, left unchecked, adds to itself. Then every little thing that goes a little wrong gets added to the story. Pretty soon, we have a good reason to be angry and out of sorts.
So, it’s not hard to start building a grievance story about COVID. We have had losses and we grieve them. I hardly get to see my kids and grandkids. Baseball is not being played in this best of all seasons, Spring. I have to be careful every time I go shopping, sanitize, wear a mask etc. The list could go on and on. And that is the problem. I can easily add to that list, feel that this is not fair, and then respond with anger.
The solution is to be self-aware and honest. I became aware that I was irritable, and that was not helpful to me or those around me. I owned the problem, confessed how I was feeling to those close to me, and it took much of the power away from the negative emotions that I felt. It did not change the situation- I cannot control that. But I could control my reactions to the situation, and that was helpful.
I share this because I think we all need to be honest with how we feel about our current national problem. Honest reflection is good and healing. Becoming aware of our current emotional state is important to maintaining good mental health. May is mental health month, so it is a good time to recognize ways that we can do some simple things to keep a positive outlook in spite of circumstances.
Prayer: Thank you Father for the gift that you give us to self-reflect, and turn all those things over to you, Amen