In the face of the pandemic, I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to change my approach. Instead of staying in something I call a “social façade” of positivity, I would be sharing that things that felt difficult. With spring slowly appearing over here, sharing now often means to share how much relief there is in seeing the sun and some blue sky.
At first, I didn’t like it. One thing I’ve been known for is the ability to see the good in things. Sharing difficulties thus felt somewhat like whining. I persevered and still don’t enjoy it. However, it allowed for some interesting learning.
The space created by sharing is an invitation for openness. It gives others the possibility to share how they feel. It makes it a contrast to the pressure people most often experience in social settings. It’s a pressure to cope with the situation and be “happy” about it. It becomes an invitation to hide or even deny the existing experience.
This creates an emotional dissonance.
The pandemic is allowing us to see how such a mechanism makes it hard for people to live up to the situation. Luckily, the experience of difficulties is largely shared leading to more people taking the opportunity to share and release some of the felt pressure. They showing its presence.
Taking a closer look, it became evident, that this simply is an amplification of everyday situations.
It is a regular experience for me, that people start coaching or a conversation with time spent to vent about their situation. They take the opportunity to release the felt pressure to perform, be politically correct, or always on top of things. And they have learned, that even though I will look at the bright side of things, it is there to avoid stepping into a spiral of blame game. They find a safe space in which they can share and be listened to. One welcoming their experience and helping them to get in touch with it.
It’s the platform onto which they can learn how much courage they may need to develop. It gives them enough information to make a choice.
If it is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation, then they’ve decided for courage.
Physical courage is what enables us to be brave. Moral courage is the ability to act rightly.
Denying to deal with existing difficulties is there to avoid stepping into the reality of the situation.
It’s the ability to accept the difficulties that leads to courage.