Social Distancing and Forgiveness
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Social Distancing, and especially Self Isolating, means that all of us are spending a lot more time with much fewer people. Many of us are facing severe limitations of where we can go and what we can do. Being on our own too much can cause fears and worries to build up. Frustrations and niggling annoyances between people cooped up together can build up as resentment or anger and can spill out as harsh words, or worse. The situation can either bring out the best; or bring out the worst, in people. How can we use it to bring out the best in us, rather than the worst?
At this time it is tempting to look for someone to blame. Targets of blame are often; our national or local government and how they handling the situation, politicians and what they are saying and doing about it, the media and how they are covering it, foreigners of various kinds (especially foreign governments), and so on. We can easily find people who we can target in our need to blame. Yet, is this really doing us any good?
There is often a background of worry and fear when we are in a state of “blaming”. This can make us feel that we “have to do something”, so we end up compulsively watching and giving attention to the very things we claim to hate seeing or thinking about. This keeps us in a “blaming loop” and makes us miserable. Unless there is something constructive we can do about the situation, something useful and practical, we need to let it go as best we can. We need to deal with our underlying feelings of worry and fear and not keep feeding them by binge watching the very things that trigger them. Blaming other people does not make us feel safer, though we act as if it does.
Now it is even more important to have some ways to maintain our inner balance. It is vital for our emotional wellbeing, and even mental health, to spend our alone time, or “cooped up” time as constructively as possible. In order to maintain something we need to pay attention to it. We need to pay attention to our need to clear away and clear out any old resentments and habits of blaming. We also need to keep a watchful eye on any new ones that are building up in us.
Sometimes this is a matter of doing some physical exercises and taking some deep breaths for a while when we feel annoyed and constrained. We can de-stress ourselves that way.
Sometimes this is a matter of open and friendly communication, so that we don’t start to vent our frustration by taking them out on someone else. It can help if we find ways to say how we feel without blaming the other person. Blaming just tends to escalate the situation. We can say something like, “I don’t really want to say this because I don’t want to upset you, but when you __ (what they do that bothers you), I feel _____ (how you feel about it). “ This usually goes a lot more smoothly than, “You _____! (insult!) Will you stop _____ (what it is they are doing), because you are making me crazy!”
Sometimes also it is a matter of doing some specific forgiveness exercises to let go of old feelings and old pains. Old thoughts and feelings can come back and haunt us when we are spending more time alone. We can find ourselves remembering a mean thing someone did to us; or a mean thing we did to someone else. Or, perhaps we just need to try and find away to feel more at peace with our noisy neighbour, live-in partner, or quirky housemate.
Something you could try is The Four Steps to Forgiveness. You don’t even need to enter an email address to get the free ebook about it. You are welcome to use one of the links on this page to download a copy.
Be well and take good care of yourself now and in the days ahead.
By William Fergus Martin, Author: Forgiveness is Power.
Four Steps to Forgiveness
Four Steps to Forgiveness
A powerful way to freedom, happiness and success.
William Fergus Martin