A few weeks ago, I noticed that I was letting complaining and blaming creep into my conversations, so I told my accountability partner I needed to go on a 30-day fast. For 30 days, I would report to her in our morning calls if I had complained or blamed “out loud” during the previous 24 hours. I would do this until I had successfully gone 30 days without complaining and blaming, at least 30 days without speaking such things out loud.
I have yet to complete even 48 hours without complaining out loud. And that does not even begin to account for the thoughts that I have had but did not voice.
During this time period I also gave a talk about self-coaching and shared some tools that we can hand to a peer to coach us in times of great challenges. And the universe promptly rewarded me with some great challenges to practice on starting with: My husband tested positive for COVID-19 and then developed symptoms. We are on Day 12 for him, and he is certainly having his challenges fighting off the disease. And then I tested positive. My symptoms are much milder than his, but the fatigue and the brain fog have made functioning at my usual pace absolutely out of the question.
Is that complaining? Well, maybe. For the most part, it is just a statement of fact. But I will tell you that, whether it comes through in the words or not, there is a deep feeling of “Woe, is me” that I have struggled to overcome of late.
So, I abandoned all pretense of not complaining and just shared with my group of coaches how I was really feeling. I don’t share this with everyone, just the trusted few that have been my coaches in the past. But I do not wallow there, and they don’t let me. They let me get the feelings out, and then they get me into action on what I can do today. They have the tools (I have given them the tools), and they do not stop with me until I have committed to the next action step.
This is working better for me right now. There is something that is hugely comforting about being able to share what I am really feeling with another human being. And it has also been helpful to work on the myriad other challenges that have arisen since:
- Like waking up and not having heat and not being able to get any service to come to a house with COVID-infected inhabitants. I now have a plethora of space heaters to get us through the next few weeks. This is thanks to friends who have shared what they had after I put out the call for assistance.
- Like not being able to walk the dog and having a neighbor agree to keep her for several weeks until the infection goes away.
Like dealing with the snow-storm and how to get my husband to the hospital for a much needed antibody infusion. This got solved by a broad request on my husband’s part for help. It came in the form of a large SUV and lots of masks and plastic screens.
I am not suggesting that you complain at will, but I am suggesting that some dose of venting can be helpful so that it does not build up. Venting to trusted coaches who will not allow us to stay stuck is the way to go.
I am also suggesting that asking for help even if you do not know specifically what you need can be very therapeutic. There is nothing like being isolated with a virus everyone is terrified of catching. But there is nothing that feels better than friends rallying with tangible items of help when you are in need.
I hope I will be able to reciprocate when it is my turn to serve. For right now, I leave you with this motto:
Progress through connection
Not isolated perfection.