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We must allow ourselves to grieve to heal

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SCHEAFFER OKORE

By SCHEAFFER OKORE
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There’s a kind of emotion that stiffens your neck, tightens your shoulders, chokes your throat, burdens your chest and cuts through your stomach.

That emotion is grief. It manifests itself in various parts of the human body and remains intact until it starts to be released.

Many people I’ve spoken to who experienced various forms of emotional heaviness in the past month have felt the above manifestations of grief.

Lots of unknowns have occurred that have consequently led to even more unplanned adjustments as people grapple to find temporary “normalcy” in the new pandemic world.

Doing the draining work of trying to survive this pandemic period makes it easy to forget to replenish your energies.

I know talking about replenishing energies at a time when so much is happening may sound unrealistic, but the reality is pandemics don’t just disrupt lives, they wear people out with grief.

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Pandemics make it necessary to be on constant problem-solving mode and lose track of yourself.

It makes it impossible to think of anything else as your mind focuses on scenario planning.

It makes you guilty of having reduced concentration and productivity because there are many fires to put out. I could go on and on, the list is long and grim.

This melancholic emotion that has lived in us for the past 40 days and counting needs to be spoken in order to reduce the expectations that people should be holding on at their best.

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This is not the time for high productive outcomes; rather, it is the time for high empathetic actions. Which is what we all need when each day brings with it something new to grieve over.

We must create space and dedicate time to let ourselves release our grief. Building solidarity around communities that support people through grief is something we shouldn’t take lightly.

The first step is to understand that this isn’t a competitive-winner-take all period but rather it’s a period of collective care.

Secondly, we need to create a healthy resilience that will carry us not just during this pandemic but even past it.

There will be so much to rebuild, including our basic orientations of what societies can and should look like to our individual roles in achieving this new society.

Thirdly, we should accept that we are in a grieving period and allow ourselves to be OK with not being OK. This is not the time to feign productivity or demand chunks of it from others.

Let’s operate from empathy so we don’t disregard each other’s griefs by allowing each of us the space to express and release the burdens we are carrying in a way that fosters healing.





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