Over the past number of weeks, I have heard from many people about the impacts of isolation. A theme that has stood out to me has been both the triumphs and difficulties arising inter-personally in the space of isolation.
For some, this has been a time of deep connection and social support. For others, it has been a time of loss of connection. For others still, it has been a difficult period of feeling overwhelmed by the demands of relationships. In spite of us all facing the same virus, there are many ways to experience life at this time, and that includes the unique difficulties we are each facing in the positions we hold in relationships.
Wherever you find yourself, whether you recognize yourself in one or more of these descriptions or not, whatever you’re experiencing, I believe with great confidence that others are empathizing with you. Consider this – there is a diverse group of support out in the world who would understand you very deeply if you could only find one another and form a team. They would ring out in a spirit of compassion and kindness to tell you that the difficulty you’re experiencing is valid, and you’re doing the best you can.
So, how would one go about locating a team of support in the current context? There is a saying by George Moore: “A [person] travels the world in search of what [they] need, and returns home to find it.” Luckily, for many of us, our homes right now are not bound by the physical space, but can be extended into the living rooms of friends and relatives through online and telephone connection. Though our current context might not be what we think of when we think “supportive team,” it might surprise you what you can discover in the connections you already have.
Take some time to think about who or what you’d place on your team. They may be friends, relatives, neighbours, doctors, counsellors, dogs, cats, birds, maybe even the trees and the wind, or the precious stuffed animal you’ve kept since childhood. Your team can be as big or as small as you’d like it to be. For this exercise, the only limit is your imagination.
As you hold this team you’ve assembled in mind, take a few minutes to consider:
What are the unique offerings that each member brings, and for which you have chosen them?
How might you connect in this moment with what they each offer? (maybe a phrase, a gesture, a sound, or an image).
What might each of them say about what you bring to the team?
Notice what it feels like to consider what each member brings, and to hear what you offer in turn. Developing awareness of the unique offerings of different people, animals, and objects, in our lives, can assist in determining what we need, and who or what we can turn to when we need it – including ourselves. Differentiating the unique gifts of our members helps us to navigate relationships, whether that means knowing who to turn to, or with whom you may need to lean back. After all, if fresh air is what you need, it’s probably best to call on your tree.
Shannon Bovey, M.Ed., RP, CCC is a Registered Psychotherapist with The Counselling Group. She works with individuals across the lifespan. For more information about Shannon and her practice please see her bio on The Counselling Group Website.
Looking for counselling? The Counselling Group offers a variety of experienced therapists who can support positive changes and growth in your life. For more information, please visit www.counsellinggroup.com or call 613-722-2225 x352 to speak with an intake worker today. We are offering appointments remotely at this time and are available to speak with you for new requests.