These days many of us are spending more time than ever with our loved ones. While for some this is an unexpected but in some ways welcome pause/reset, for others it’s a time of great stress and challenge to those relationships. We may have been used to being around our loved ones only on evenings and weekends, or if together full time engaged in something fun, like vacation. Instead everyone in the house is dealing with uncertainty in their own lives and projects, and unless that’s managed well, an external crisis can lead to a more personal one. In this article we’ll discuss some ways that Gents can lead in their relationships during this unprecedented time.
When things are in disarray, we feel an enormous pressure to inactivity. Things don’t seem certain, therefore people can feel demoralized and lacking in energy. However, this is precisely the time when routines need to be kept, not just your own individual routines, but those of your family. If you keep a certain morning or evening routine, do the best you can, in your own circumstances, to keep that routine. If your family normally eat dinner together at a certain time, do your best to preserve it. A semblance of normality can make a world of difference. Some of you may recall a scene from Band of Brothers in which some villagers pause in the wreckage of their town to play some Beethoven, to remind themselves what all of the rebuilding will ultimately be to preserve. Reflecting on such scenes can go a long way to reminding us that however challenging our current situation is, many, in living memory, have suffered much worse.
Mindfulness of the more challenging situations of others can lead us to express gratitude for what we have. While some of you may already keep a gratitude journal, others might use this time to really examine the everyday miracles we take for granted in our fast-moving world and literally jot down those things you are grateful for. Even better? Share those things with others. You’ll be surprised – attitudes are often far more contagious than diseases!
Direct, Compassionate Communication
Opinions on all that is going on range all over the place and have led to disagreements among friends and family, and yes, even spouses. What matters is to go above and beyond in being respectful and empathetic with all you interact with, especially your loved ones. It’s probably not the best time to make your stand on some hill but to move forward in the most positive ways possible, accepting that those you care about and are close to may have wildly differing views from you on this subject. There will be plenty of time to go over that ground in the weeks and months ahead, but to get to that time ahead, we need to focus on the present and deploy empathy and compassion even though our instincts, rubbed raw with emotion, may instruct us otherwise.
We also want to respect the need of our loved ones to have some alone time. While situations may be stressful and there can be great solace in the company of others, it’s also important to allow them to have some time alone to reflect on all that is going on. If your local situation allows for it, that alone time can be taken outdoors, if the weather cooperates!
Finally, the disease is taking up the oxygen in almost all our news stories. There’s only so much “new” information that can be gleaned and studies show that news in general has a deleterious effect on our states of mind, dominated as news often is with negative stories: in these days, more than ever. We’ve shared before the tactic of taking a news fast. This might be a great time to give that a try.
While this time has made it difficult to service you, we’ve appreciated the sense of humor in the #gentsgrownwild campaign shared by our members. But despite not being able to necessarily look our best these days, there’s always an opportunity for a Gent to lead as best he can, in his city, community, and home.
Do you have some tactics and techniques you’d like to add to this list? Share in the comments!