*Warning: naughty language ahead!
You guys, this is a crazy ass time isn’t it?!
Regardless of our current situation, it’s fair to say our lives have collectively been impacted by COVID-19.
Whether our hours have been cut and we’re stressed about finances; or we’re working from home, which likely means trying to blend and balance two worlds in the same space; or we’re feeling trapped by our children or significant other or roommate and we’d give anything for a few hours at a coffee shop or gym or book store alone, without anyone watching or needing you—feeling the loss of our previous lives and mourning and grieving are all part of this collective what-the-fuck-is-happening experience we are living through.
Plus, the world feels heavy.
There’s a lot of injustice and division and hatred trying to weigh us down. It’s hard to be kind to ourselves and others with all of this change and uncertainty and heaviness.
So, I put together five of my favorite quotes that I’ve turned to over the years and that help me be kinder to myself and others.
1. “The best way out is always through.” ~ Robert Frost
I have used this quote as a mantra over the years for everything from everyday stress to full-blown anxiety. And, it helps. We really don’t have a choice. We can control the things we can control, try to do as much good in the world as possible, but overall, we just gotta get through it.
2. “Lean into the discomfort.” ~ Author unknown (I think a lot of really awesome people have said this.)
About seven years ago, I had my first panic attack while driving across the Richmond Bridge in Northern California. I managed to get home, which was about six hours south, but for two years after, I struggled with driving on freeways. Bridges still aren’t my favorite thing. It was embarrassing, and I felt like a pathetic loser and a failure. I beat myself up so bad for a while; then, one day, I said, “I’m going to lean into this. I’m going to lean into this discomfort and try to use it—as a lesson, to gain wisdom, to build on.”
I decided to let the fear exist, until it didn’t. The day I got back on the freeway again, I cried tears of joy. There was no magic solution, it was simply time. I leaned in. I’m doing the same thing today, because, let’s be honest, at this point, most things are uncomfortable.
3. “Don’t judge a person’s story by the chapter you walked in on.” ~ Author unknown
There have been times in my life I have been more needy, clingy, restless, and intense than I am now. There have also been times I have been more calm, disciplined, focused, and patient, too. I’m not only those labels, just as others aren’t. This quote helps me better understand my students, friends, and colleagues. We reserve the right to evolve and change. Period. At the center, there is us, but often (hopefully) a different version of us, and I always want to give people and myself the benefit of growth.
4. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou
Here’s where balance comes in. Given number three, it’s okay to give someone grace and see them as a person capable of change and improvement, knowing they have more dimensions than the one you saw most frequently, but it’s also okay to trust your intuition and protect yourself and your energy by creating healthy boundaries and recognizing that not everyone needs a seat at our table every single day. Can we learn from everyone? Yes. Do we need to be surrounded by everyone? No. Should we fight like hell if someone’s unjust? Absolutely. It’s okay to say goodbye to anyone or thing that makes us feel like shit.
5. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi
The truth is, we have more in common than not, and right now it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. This quote reminds me to strive for common ground, to seek out the similarities, and to really see the beauty all around us, even when the ugly seems to be the most prominent. The world needs us to share our love—in fields, and everywhere else.
I hope you find these quotes helpful. Sending peace to you all.