He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.
This quote is attributed to the writings of Lao-Tzu. It hasn’t been determined if this was an actual person or a body of philosophical writings that have been passed down through generations. Regardless of the origin or author, it is the idea of a wise sage. Let’s see if we can apply it to our experience today in the pandemic of 2020.
To illustrate, I’d like to tell you a story that happened to me at the beginning of the Covid 19 episode of our lives. In January I was on a trip to San Francisco to a couples conference. Upon arrival at SFO airport, a sign in a gift shop window caught my eye. I had the urge to buy it but talked myself out of it thinking it was a splurge I could do without. More about this sign and its message in a minute.
The trip to San Francisco was at the very beginning of the worry of what has happening in the world related to the virus. The airport was restricting travel from parts of the world that had outbreaks of illness. I was uncertain traveling on an airplane and staying in a hotel and being around tourists as we hiked around the city after the conference due to fears of catching Covid19. There were hundreds of tourists at the Golden Gate Bridge tour and other popular sites we were exploring. Not knowing more about this virus, I wasn’t sure how to think about the risk. Knowing it was a limited opportunity, I decided to continue my adventure in the beautiful city of San Francisco for 3 days. My husband and I had a lovely time appreciating the architecture, the sites, the restaurants and the shops. When our vacation was over, we returned to the airport for the journey home.
As luck would have it, i walked by that same gift shop and saw the sign in the window. This time, i knew in an instant I had to buy it. Little did I know how many times I would read this sign for comfort and support during the next 8 months. Here are the words that came home with me that day early in 2020 before things got so twisted from the pandemic response.
It’s ok to…
not have all the answers
feel all the emotions
have bad days
let yourself cry
ask for help
You can see why looking back the words seem prophetic given the worry, upset, disappointment, anxiety and confusion of the pandemic experience. As a therapist, I’m on the look out for messages that inspire others…and in this case, I needed to inspire and comfort myself through this strange journey of living through a pandemic while supporting others in their difficult times.
Let’s give ourselves permission to not be OK during the rest of 2020! Consider the option of giving yourself the opportunity to process your experience at Journey Counseling. You may be struggling with yourself, your partner, your elders or your community. It can be comforting to share your story with a good listener. There are session times available this week. Call Gail at 701-356-5544 to find a time to share your story and learn new coping resources to get you through the next few months. I look forward to hearing from you. I’m here to support and comfort you through difficult times.