At a loss for words – and self-compassion – in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Hello everyone,

My last post was about promoting resilience in times of trouble. I thought I had a clear view about it then, being a psychologist, I am trained to offer assistance to others in need and help promote resilience.

I am writing you again after a 3 weeks of staying at home with my family as a measure of preventing the further spread of the virus.

It took me some time to write you again, for I found myself at a loss for words…

It is one thing to help someone else, and offer good advice, when you are not going through what the other is going through. It is another thing, when you infact, are part of the same frightening reality, experiencing yourself a variety of feelings which the situation evokes: feelings of dread, uncertainty, isolation, worry, emptiness, etc etc.

The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading like fire in a hay stack. Engulfing our entire world, one country after the other. It is such a massive, traumatic ongoing event, which affects the lives of everyone and everything in so many ways and has such life altering implications, we are not beginning yet to understand. With regards to health, the economy, relationships and in many other great and little ways.

So, I was at a loss for words, and had to go through a period of adjusting, regrouping, understanding what might offer some solace, some comfort, in these times of trouble. Maybe you feel the same?

In times of stress and danger people cope in different ways: Some people do, act. Some people shrink away, or even freeze, not knowing what to do.

Everyone needs to adjust to this new reality.

So, at this time I would like to write you about a very important self-regulating concept called compassion, or self-compassion.

As I wrote before, people cope in many different ways. Alas, people also tend to criticize their own way of coping, thinking and feeling they should do better. In the social media there is abundant information, advice, stories and pictures of what great things people are doing at home, during these crazy times. Many times it makes us think and feel confused or not adequate enough. You might ask yourself – am i doing right by my family, my children, can I do better?

Self compassion, is about being generous to yourself, loving, understanding to yourself, accepting that this is the best you can do at this time, while striving to alter what can be altered.

Self compassion was found in research to be an important part of parental self-regulation, so needed these days at home, with the kids.

So, as we want to be kind to our children, lets be kind to ourselves, and remember that we are all humans trying to do the best we can in a very difficult situation.

Try to find everyday something to be thankful about, something you can commend yourself about. None of it is obvious, or goes without saying. It is what you can do at this moment in time, and tomorrow offers new opportunities for coping.

Take care,

be good to yourself,

Irra Harari Friedman,

Senior Educational Psychologist