No comparison! – “They are so much better at isolation than me!”

by Gillian Campbell

8 Apr, 2020 at 1:48 pm

How many of us have seen posts on social media, heard people on the TV or spoken to friends and asked ourselves if we are better or worse than them at coping during the COVID-19 situation?

Why might we be compelled to compare, measure, set expectations and judge ourselves against some imaginary standard or winning post?  

When our lives change beyond recognition and beyond our control, our reactions are unique.  There are some for whom this is a calling, an awakening, a drive to be new.  For some, we grieve the future experiences we expected to have, income and freedom we have lost.  There may be a powerlessness, restriction and isolation we don’t enjoy.  Some grieve for people we’ve loved and have lost, or we hope or pray for those who are ill.  The cycle of this grief of this change is multifaceted and most importantly unique.  It is NOT a competition to see who wins!

For us all it will look different; right now, controlling our unhelpful thinking, catastrophising or anxious thoughts is harder to manage because there actually is danger.  Possibly at times we try to escape from having to think or feel at all.

Maybe we escape into things that we feel actually ‘do good’.  Proactivity, action in our work, with our teams, our children or partners.  This can feel positive and yet in some ways we may sense it is a running away, a being seen to be doing the right things.  We can become overwhelmed, exhausted or run out of things to ‘do’ and feel lost, helpless, inadequate or even notice others can feel overwhelmed or immobilised by our activity for them.

Possibly we escape into social media, Netflix, sugar, alcohol, chocolate or inactivity.  This is also not necessarily ‘bad’, but you can see that in 3,6,12 weeks that strategy may have unhelpful consequences, both for us and those we love.

Maybe we find ourselves judging and blaming our government, our community, a culture our neighbour or our family.  Measuring and judging other’s reactions and comparing them to ours or even measuring ourselves and blaming us.  All of this creates a disconnection from the fact we are all people.

In the next few months, we may all lose people we love; we may all be frail in the wake of this virus.

Fear can create an inward mindset; self-preservation, self-protection, this is not ‘bad,’ this is human.  If we catch the comparing, escaping, judging and blaming we can see that this is us caught up in …well us.

We can see these behaviours, be kind to ourselves as people and then choose to turn to see others as people.

Where is there someone who needs us?  Can we call someone we know is alone and just be there for them, ask what they need? Honour our sense to hear someone else’s fears, their coping strategies, their pain and hold ourselves out of our judgement or fear that we can’t mend, salve or take any of this away from them… or us, as we do the one thing we can do.

We can keep seeing people

I guess I ‘should’ be an expert at this and yet I am escaping, judging and comparing at times.  I’m still catching myself and with self-compassion turning to see the faces of the people around me.  To reach out, to take one more step in connection, through fear.

Even if you are not one of my clients, or are not needing a coach, or a mindset programme, please if you feel you would like some mindset help, ideas or just to talk, contact me and together we can find you or someone you love the outward mindset resources that may help.