It’s okay to not be okay

As the pandemic continues to overturn our expectations of everyday life, it’s important to be in the moment with our responses.

My coach training is grounded in Transactional Analysis. Both coach and coachee must be fully present, resourced, and approach the coaching relationship as an equal partnership. Based on the groundbreaking book of psychiatrist Thomas Harris, this is sometimes referred to as coaching in an “I’m okay, you’re okay” state. But what happens when nobody is okay?

Classic hallmarks of the “I’m not okay, you’re not okay” state are feelings of helplessness, fear, despair, and inertia. Right now we are living through a global challenge that is different to anything most of us have personally faced. How do we get through it?

The photo heading this blog post is a cup which has been repaired with kintsugi, a Japanese technique for mending broken pottery in ways that highlights the repair lines. Rather than trying to replicate the object as it was before the breakage, kintsugi recognizes that a break is part of the story: not only is the object restored to function, the breaks are celebrated, giving new life and uniqueness to each thing through the golden lacquer used in the repair.

At this time of great and sometimes overwhelming difficulty, we too must recognize that the greatest challenges we face in life are often those which give our character its most precious shine. Rather than trying to cover up our attempts to manage these challenges, we must embrace our stregnths in pulling ourselves back together through developing the resourcefulness and resilience that our present situation demands of us.

In my last post, I talked about ways to recognize our inner resourcefulness even in the face of unprecedented challenges. It’s also important to recognize the scale of the change we are facing: yes, this is a global pandemic, but nobody’s asking you to save the whole world. Take stock of the immediate aspects of your life which are within your control and influence, and focus on those. The big picture is still out there, but you don’t have to shoulder the burden alone.

In a prior blog, I focused on how to recognize one’s state, and more importantly, how to move to one’s ideal state. It may seem impossible right now for anything to be okay. And that is absolutely okay–for now. When you’re ready, your inner state of ‘okay’ is still there. It might look and feel different than it did before all this happened, but it’ll be all the more uniquely you.

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