The Best Part of the Worst Year #3
2020 taught me that it's okay to grieve
In many ways, 2020 has been a year of trials and tribulations. A year of loss, a year of division, a year of tragedy. I know that many of the obstacles I've faced this year have forced me to address my personal tendency to act like everything is okay when it's not. As an oldest child, a child of divorce, and an empath, I have spent the majority of my life putting on a brave face. When things are falling apart, I hold it all together to emotionally support the people that I love who, in reality, are struggling just as much as me. In some weird, subconscious way, showing sadness equates to weakness. Maybe this is a coping mechanism, maybe it's pride, but it is not a healthy way of living.
I know this behavior is not limited to me, though. We live in a culture with this unspoken expectation to show our highlight reels, to act like life is great even when it's not. When you're at the checkout counter and ask the clerk "How's it going?" any response other than "Good thanks, how are you?" throws us off. If you asked a stranger how it was going and they told you the reality of their situation, that their hours at work were cut because of COVID-19 and they were worried about money, that they lost a parent who was in assisted living and they didn't get the chance to say goodbye, that they aren't sleeping because their child is addicted to drugs and won't accept help if those were the answers people gave you, how would that make you feel? Uncomfortable, taken off guard, speechless? Just think about that.
Why isn't sharing grief more normalized? 2020 has been a complete whirlwind that has brought forth the humanity of struggle and the weight of sadness. For the first time in a long time, this year has allowed us to cry together, to cry for one another, and no one to think of tears as weird. That is an absolute blessing. It's my prayer that we don't lose this sense of empathy and love for our neighbors in the new year.
You have to feel it to heal it.
Sometimes life is relentless and you know what? It's okay to be upset about that. It's okay to sit with your emotions for a little while. It's okay to grieve. That's what 2020 has taught me. That has been the best part of the worst year.