Katherine French-Ewing MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Colorado
I was people-watching in the grocery store the other day (a favorite pastime). I noticed a disturbing trend – heads down, eyes averted, super-weary body language, people silently walking around as if under a spell. I was shocked at the disconnection. These ripple effects are real.
Do you feel like you are still connecting with people, making eye contact, and smiling? Or are you, like most of us, going into an auto-pilot, “find what I need and get out” mentality? To add humor and joy, I try to make it a point to talk to people while they shop or run errands. It’s funny how diverse the responses are – surprise, delight, relief… always positive, though. I want the ripple effects of my actions to be life-giving.
Pandemic Ripple Effects
Have you ever found yourself drifting along in your life? Phrases I hear frequently from new clients are “I am just trying to survive” and “I feel numb, like I don’t have time to feel anything” or “I feel ______(fill in the blank) all the time and it gets worse if I am in public.” A core part of our humanity is to yearn to be seen, heard, and to know that our existence matters. It is difficult to affirm these pieces in others, even if you feel less than affirmed.
Are You Seen?
This is our cry to be unique. Have you ever noticed how many people make or buy blinged-out masks to stand out? It could be because they want to be recognized for bringing something new to the table. We are gradually becoming less sensitive to non-verbal signals around our bodies, sometimes leading to a deep sense disconnection and division. This phenomenon can be overcome by intentional connection with others around you. Give compliments or smiles to let them know you are there.
Are You Heard?
With so many voices being silenced in social media today and so much content being censored, those who had been struggling pre-pandemic to believe the truth — that their voice matters — easily fall into despondent, defeatist mindsets. Find your tribe and share your voice in that safe space. Consider what steps you can take if you feel passionate about something. It will be taken seriously and respected. Your story and your point of view matter.
Do I Matter?
Your life is important in ways you don’t even realize. Do what makes you happy and give your all to it. People are attracted to those who live in line with their values, passions, and are consistent with them. Maybe what you bring to the light inspires another person to do the same. Instead of dwelling on your own life circumstances, expand your horizons and reach out to those in need. You will be amazed at the transformation that happens in your heart and community if you meet that need as best as possible. Serving others adds purpose and meaning to your life. Your gifts, passions, skills, and talents are rare and highly valued.
Choose Your Ripple Effects
Consider the image of a beautiful still lake. What happens if we put a heavy object in that water? Consider those ripples as your daily decisions and thoughts. Are they having a negative, neutral, or positive effect on others? Today, I challenge everyone to consider the ripple effects of this season. You might even want to write about it, or talk with a trusted friend or relative for feedback. If your effects aren’t aligned with your values and the core of who you are, then maybe it is worth re-evaluating how you are showing up in this world. How would your life look and feel if you had a positive ripple effect? It can be a transformative experience to connect with someone who is committed to your growth and offers a compassionate, objective view. Your life matters. Your impact on others is important.
You may find that working with a therapist to help you deal the ripple effects on your life from the pandemic is the best way to grow. Katherine is one example of a therapist who offers free initial consultations to help you find the right therapist for you. Find the right therapist for your needs by searching for therapists in your local area.
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