For many of us, lockdown has brought bubbling to the surface emotions that we have pushed to the depths of our minds for as long as we can remember and kept there with busy routines, interactions, and to-do-lists. Endless stimulation has provided our moments of melancholy with a fast track down to this subconscious space.
Some of us do this so well that when these emotions rise up, they do so with the power of like a geyser firing hot steam hundreds of feet into the air. Our turmoil is compounded by utter shock that such strength of emotion exists inside us.
So what happens if we see this uprising of all those long-supressed and smothered emotions as an opportunity to accept them, to acknowledge them, to allow them airtime?
Brené Brown encapsulates beautifully the importance of acknowledging how we are feeling in her book Rising Strong:
The opposite of recognising that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away. Instead they own us, they define us.
Pushing difficult thoughts and feelings to the depths of our minds is exhausting as we use all of our strength to keep them there. We take our energy and attention away from the rest of our lives and plough it into pushing down those feelings. The very act of holding back these emotions becomes our purpose.
As Brené Brown writes,
Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think “Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”
Perhaps there are stories we need to take ownership of, emotions we need to acknowledge and accept, to relieve our weary minds from the energy it takes to push them down below our consciousness. Perhaps by stopping the world in its tracks, lockdown has allowed us the quiet, the time and the space to recognize what we are feeling. A little nudge to write our own endings.
Brown, B. (2015). Rising strong (First edition.). New York: Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House.