This is an idiom and most of us understand what it means; you should try to understand someone before criticizing them.
It came to mind this weekend, whilst thinking about our life in the current times. It seems to me that everyone I know is experiencing a different Covid; a uniquely personal covid. You have been furloughed, you are a key worker, you have kids, you don’t have kids, you have outdoor space, you like in a small flat, you live with people, you live on your own. These personal differences are now magnifying the different experiences everyone is experiencing.
The thing is we think we are all in this together (which is true) but in my opinion that statement doesn’t represent the whole picture.
As some said to me earlier:
“We are all in the same storm but we are not on the same boat”.
Yes, we are all living in this challenging time, but we are all dealing with it differently and this leads to us all have opinions about what the best course of action is. It also means we can jump to judge others for acting in a way we might not.
The person not wearing the mask in a supermarket, the young people meeting up, the mother having to go to work even though she should be isolating. Here in Wales, I found myself commenting (in a negative way) about the many that went shopping for Christmas presents after we moved into Tier 4 on the 19th December. (I’d luckily finished my shopping the day before.)
At first glance we might think these actions are reckless, but they might be so desperately needed. How do we know the position of others?
This passed week several acquaintances have had to start home schooling their children. In talking to one of the mums I’ve realized I’m more judgmental than I’d like to be and I really don’t consider others enough.
The ‘super-star mum’ is amazing, not only is she great at her job she also runs the family home of 6 people. She was doing OK with covid, in fact more than OK, she was working her way through it brilliantly, but this last challenge (home schooling) is currently getting the better of her.
Describing how her anxiety was increasing by the day I started to understand the pressure she was putting on herself to do everything. She was trying to fit everything in like nothing had changed. Working full time, home schooling two children (a primary and a secondary child), supporting others, keeping house.
When we chatted more about the frustrations and challenges of the situation it became clear she felt probably like many others that she had no choice. She could not win. There was no good solution. She felt a little helpless. She couldn’t do it all. Trying to do everything was stretching her too thin across all aspects of her life.
My dad has a saying “You can only do your best. If you do your best everyday no one can say anything to you.”
As I said to my super star mum, we need to stop putting pressure on ourselves. Stop thinking we must do it all. Stop thinking people are judging us. We are not superheroes. There is a limit to our ability, our NRG and we all need to recognize this in ourselves.
The thing is, when you accept this fact, we start to see thing a little more clearly and we can make small steps towards easing the pressure and stress.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, anxious or stressed recognize the signs and then
Try to take a step back.
Accept how you are feeling.
Ask yourself “am I doing my best?”
Know yourself and your resources. What else could you do? How else could you tackle the problem.
Talk to others and see if they can suggest alternatives.
Make a choice, a decision to be positive (even about the smallest success)
Finally, remember this situation is temporary. We will move on from this time. The secret is to look up and keep moving forward.
Please don’t forget you can reach out and talk to me if you need any support.