When all is well in our lives – when there is financial security: everyone is healthy: and we can come and go as we please – then it is very easy to “paper over the cracks”, to ignore those pressure points in a relationship.
When all is not well, the pressure builds and the cracks become very obvious.
In this current situation when we all have to stay at home, when couples – and families – are being forced to spend more time together than they usually do – we have all the ingredients for a storm.
“Out there” there is an atmosphere of anxiety and fear, not helped by the media and their screaming panic-peddling headlines. The energy is heavy, oppressive and negative – it’s a good job the sun is shining (as I write this at least!) – that helps to lift the spirits.
Nowadays our lives are very full – stress and deadlines at work; children have their own social agendas that need to be organised; running the household is a job in itself. Shopping, socialising, sport – it all fills up our waking hours. And much of it serves as a distraction from looking at what’s going on inside ourselves, from listening to that little voice that begs to be heard.
Those who now have time on their hands might find it increasingly uncomfortable. They will call it boring, they will say they are stifled, frustrated and so on – but perhaps they don’t like the idea of having to sit with themselves. To those people, I would say, “what is it that you are finding uncomfortable? What is it that wants to be heard?” And perhaps more important, “what are you going to do about it?”
This whole situation marks a massive energy shift, a huge change, and things will not go back to the way they were. It is an opportunity to work with ourselves, to look at who we are and, more importantly, who we would like to be. It can be an uncomfortable process, peeling that emotional onion, taking off the layers of pretence and show to discover the real you underneath. But as uncomfortable as it is, it is also enormously empowering, and stepping into the power of the true you gives you a new-found confidence and self-awareness that does not come from designer business outfits or a new drop-top car; from alcohol or drugs.
For those who are forced into spending more time than usual with a partner, the situation is equally challenging. Little cracks in a relationship can so easily become gaping chasms. Minor irritations grow into major issues. If you are sensitive, empathic or intuitive, this will be more likely, as you will be picking up on “stuff” that is flying around you.
This could be a very good opportunity to take time and discuss those issues that keep coming up but that keep being shelved because there is never time or space to do them justice. Keep it polite. Don’t bring up issues from years ago unless they are really relevant. Keep emotion out of it – stick to the facts. Don’t just hurl random accusations – back up your statements with examples. Listen. Really listen. Don’t talk over the other person. We are all allowed one walk a day – use it wisely! Go for a walk in the park, get some fresh air, blow away the cobwebs, talk about what is troubling you.
Confinement can bring people together or it can drive them apart: recognise the opportunity for what it is and use it wisely.