Is it okay to be okay when others aren't?
A letter I’d send to my friends:
How are you? How are you bringing your best during these changing times? I’m a little overwhelmed by what I’m seeing happening in India, Italy, some other countries, refugee camps and right here in Australia.
Too much to fully comprehend for anyone. Yet I’m also seeing extraordinary compassion, inventiveness, creativity, and humour amongst the hardship; a measure of our resilience which I love.
I’m staying proactive. Focusing on what I can control and influence. Physically distancing from people and from the news.
In uncertain times, we discover who we are. Adversity magnifies us. I do my best to remember that my emotions are responding to my own perceptions, and not to what’s happening ‘out there’. It’s my perceptions I must manage first.
Three questions I do my best to answer each day...
1. Who am I being right now?
2. Am I doing what I can to contribute to kindness in the world?
3. Will I be proud of this moment when this is done?
Yesterday was an opportunity to share some of my thoughts on video on how JP and I navigate our relationship during this time, how I maintain productivity at home, what I consider important during changing times.
If I was to critique myself afterwards it’s that I’m too upbeat. I think I could be criticised for that. I’m actually experiencing self-consciousness and guilt that I feel okay, that I was prepared financially for such a crisis (I’ve had my wealth buckets in place for over ten years) and that JP and I are closer than ever during this.
I see how living in Oz, building businesses that do well in these times, and being healthy give me a level of privilege that most people in third world countries, and some Aussies, will not have.
And fuck, do I get that it’s mostly luck.
I didn’t choose to be Australian. I can’t say it’s anything but good fortune that my businesses are strong in times like these. I didn’t know that when JP and I married nearly 30 years ago he’d be the guy to lift in circumstances like this. The opposite could so easily have been true.
Good philosophical questions and stuff I’m thinking about (as well as a bunch of other thoughts)...
Is it okay to be okay when others aren’t? Isn’t that how it is every day of our lives for nearly every Aussie? We have a phenomenal health care system, a safety net for those who need the support, a level of safety and protection most people around the world can only dream about.
Is it okay to feel able to cope, and thrive, during tough times, when others can’t? (Again, this is true all year, it’s just in especially sharp focus right now).
Am I personally responsible for everyone who isn’t doing okay?
Am I ‘supposed’ to hide my okayness?
Am I free to feel compassion for others who are struggling right now without being judged as ‘what would you know?’
I can't say I'm an expert at navigating these times but I believe we're all masterful. We're all in the unknown with this. And perhaps this is the removal of the illusion of certainty and control. My heart goes out to the people who are touched by this in distressing ways.
I’m a big believer that two opposing ideas can be held in our minds simultaneously. I can hold compassion for others in my mind AS I do okay. I see comments sometimes like, ‘Yes but what about the people who..?’
Must we have every caveat in every post and in every comment we make to show that we’re aware of every challenge every single person is facing? Must we communicate our own virtue so obviously?
I think not, if we’re to have the freedom to experience and express our own truth.
Is my truth less valid that someone who is not doing okay right now? Is my okayness (so far, I’m acutely aware that could change) open to being swiped at or criticised as ‘insensitive’? If someone experiences hardship, should their previous messages of okayness be shamed and mocked as ‘You’re not so good, now, are you!’
How do we find pathways out of darkness if the only perspectives shared are those of darkness? If messages of ‘this is how I’m doing well, right now’ are condemned for being ‘out of touch’?
Again, two ideas being held simultaneously is the nuance of what we’re experiencing. Some of us struggle today. Some of us are okay today and may struggle tomorrow. Is the alternative for us all to be doing badly and saying so, so no one feels bad/offended about some people doing okay?
If we’re to see adversity as the opportunity to take an inventory of ourselves, can it be through seeing how others have coped, pivoted their businesses, and found a way?
Difficult times. Difficult questions. Giving us opportunities to reflect on our own thoughts and perceptions.
I feel I’m taking a risk of judgement and being ‘called out’ with this letter. Hiding my okay ness seems the safer and ‘sensible’ path. Just, it’s not congruent with who I am. With my family and friends I’m upbeat, focused on what we can do to help others (who knew we’d be in the import of essential supplies???) and staying on course to grow during this period.
That’s me. And so is the guilt.
And maybe this is all just bullshit self indulgence that’s in my head. I’m considering that, too. 😳🤗😳🤗🧡
I trust this post creates some (gentle) conversation about what’s ‘okay’ to post during these times. Nuance. Less absolutism and and lots of subtlety. Ambiguity is the toughest terrain for our minds. Yet it’s where the growth is.
Anyway, thinking of you, and I trust you receive this letter in the spirit intended.
Much love xxx