On Collective Trauma & Self Compassion

Kelsea Peace

I came across this quote on President Oabama's Instagram the other day and I felt like it so concisely put words to something I've been feeling since we entered into this season of being safer at home.

"We are living in a moment that will define generations. We will look back on these days as the world changes into something new, and we will ask ourselves...what did we do to help?" - Chef Jose Andres (doing AMAZING work through his Chefs for America movement right now).

I'm still working out my answer to that and will come back to it in the coming weeks but I do want to start by sharing some of the learning I've been doing with y'all. I've had the opportunity to attend group mental health sessions each week for the last month with a group of fellow female entrepreneurs. Each session has been led by licensed therapists and have been unbelievably valuable. I have also been closely following leaders with high EQ like Brené Brown and Glennon Doyle.

A theme that seems to weave its way through each call, podcast, IG live, and article is the idea that we are experiencing a collective trauma. More importantly, the reminder that when experiencing trauma there is a deep need for self-compassion. Here are a few notes, a quote and the supporting episodes from Brené Brown's new podcast, Unlocking Us.

1. Episode #1 called "Brené on FFTs". FFT is short for F*#cking First Times and it is so relevant right now. In my weekly calls each therapist has noted how challenging it is to be navigating this first time experience alongside their clients. Brené helps put clear language around the phenomenon we are experiencing. 

2. Observe what you're feeling and name it. Make a list of what you're grieving. Don't try to find meaning too quickly, it can be tempting to jump to all the good and the silver linings but this can slow down the grief process. This quote from Glennon Doyle feels like a breath of fresh air:

Pain is not tragic.

Pain is magic. Suffering is tragic.

Suffering is what happens when we avoid

pain and consequently miss

our becoming.

So, consider this a reminder to feel all your feelings. Whatever they may be. As we know - repressed feelings are good at hiding in our body and now more than ever it's important to let them flow through. Listen to episode #6 with David Kessler.

3. Gratitude is a wonderful thing and yes, having a gratitude practice is key for our mental health. But forcing ourselves to feel grateful because we don't think we deserve to feel our feelings (because someone else has it worse) is not useful. Listen to episode #5, "Brené on Comparative Suffering..."

The most important take-away from each of these humans, is to be gentle with yourself. We are all in this together, for the first time. You are not alone in your feelings and your feelings (no matter what they are) are valid.

Add a comment

* Comments must be approved before being displayed.