For myself and many others, I know there was great anticipation for this new decade. This year, 2020, was going to be the start of a better decade. We felt a swell of hope, and had intentions to better our lives.
Now, nearly halfway into this first year of the new decade, I think most of us can say that 2020 has been nothing like what we envisioned. The COVID-19 crisis destabilized our world, our systems, our families, our lives. The social justice uprisings we are seeing are destabilizing our communities, as well, and pushing hate and injustice out into the light of day to be seen and challenged.
I want to encourage you to take a few moments now to pause and reflect on just how much change has happened and is still happening in our world right now. To say that it is significant is an understatement. Each of us is experiencing and witnessing more than we were prepared for.
You’ve likely felt a range of emotions — maybe many at the same time — and at an intensity that may feel like too much to handle. For myself, grief is one of the emotions that has shown up a lot these last months and even more so in the last few weeks.
You may be able to point to and put into words exactly what it is you are grieving, or you may feel the emotion but not know exactly what it is you are grieving. It is OK and normal to feel grief and be unsure of where its origins lie. In fact, I would be surprised if sometime during the last few months, grief from an unknown source didn’t slide its way in.
There is a collective grief in our world. We have all experienced and witnessed tremendous loss since COVID started and even more loss since the horrendous events that led to the uprisings.
Not only are we each feeling our own specific losses, but we are also feeling the losses of the world — because we are united in what is being experienced across the globe.
I understand that some people may feel or believe that they are not sensitive to the energy of the world around them, but please know that even if you would not consider yourself empathic or energetically sensitive, the collective grief is with you and impacting you on some level. It does not make you weak or less than, it is just a part of your humanity.
There are as many ways to allow, process, and move through and with grief as there are people in the world. Know that how you feel and process this grief will be unique to you and may not look like the way anyone else processes grief.
I imagine that many of you are already on your grief journey. Perhaps you have your plan in place to honor your grief and you are already working it. But, if you need a few ideas or just a quick check-in, here are a few things I wanted to share with you:
- Some of us do not feel the need to know where the grief we are feeling is coming from and that is perfect. Allow it, feel it, don’t analyze it, just be with it.
- Many of us want to know or understand where the grief is coming from and that is also perfect. If you are looking for some understanding of what you are feeling perhaps it is a good time to journal. It can be heavy, I know, so please make adequate time for yourself. If you can name it and claim it, it may be your path forward to acceptance and next steps.
- Perhaps you are ready to share with a loved one or trusted mentor or counselor about what is on your heart and the loss you are feeling? Every single one of us is going to need support of some kind to move forward through this collective grief, and if that support includes a trusted other… might it be time to find that person?
- Do not judge your grief. Do not judge yourself for experiencing grief. Your grief is asking you to honor something that you loved and held sacred. That is a testament to the beauty and fullness of your life. Honor that by allowing yourself to grieve, as it is the only way forward to an acceptance of your new life.
There are so many things that we as humans share, and this collective grief is one that we will always have in common. We will move forward together in our grief and build a new, better world. We can’t do that, though, until each of us allows, accepts, and honors our grief.
For the rebuilding to start, let the old be honored for what it gave and taught us, let us grieve what we loved and lost, and then together let’s move forward. This new decade can still be one of phenomenal positive change and growth.