How are you relating; relating to the ‘new’ mask covered world around you, family members and society? Read on to see what we have to say.
But wait, there’s more!
If you read to the end you will find the link to our latest video on Shape of Emotion. We explore the third step (there are four) “observing” the emotion.
We started this series right at the beginning of lockdown, that hazy past of fear and panic. Our five fold approach to the elements that cover our life remains relevant no matter what is happening in our lives. The last of the five pillars is relating.
Relating in masks?
We are almost back to a semblance of normal in South Africa, whatever normal means these days. Coming out of Level 2 and going into Level 1 of lock down has allowed us to move more freely, exercise, go out to restaurants and movies, and visit family and friends. All under certain conditions and restrictions.
At last we have been able to visit family and friends. Not too many at one time, mind you, and we are still cautioned to observe social distancing and wear masks. Still wear masks. If anything was going to get in the way of us relating to each other it would be the masks.
We really do not enjoy wearing our masks, they pull at our ears and make a funny ridge on Matthew’s beard. Wearing a mask with glasses is especially fun, it’s an art to get the mask positioned so that we don’t look through a permanent mist of fogged up spectacles. Now that it is getting a bit warmer it becomes claustrophobic breathing behind those things. Our thoughts go to those that have to wear them all day. They have become an occupational hazard. Really.
I frequently forget I have to wear one. It’s still a shock to go out and see everyone’s lower jaw obstructed by a piece of fabric. Luckily I always have a spare mask in my bag to clumsily slip on at the door to Pick n Pay. I could get arrested for not wearing one. I can steal millions from the needy, strip the UIF of funds meant for the unemployed, fire bomb and trash a Clicks store and very little will happen to me, but if I don’t wear a mask…
Distancing us from our humanity
“Can you see me smiling behind my mask?” I asked Matthew the first time we went out and donned the flap of material. No, you can’t see that I am smiling and I can’t see that you are either. That little facial movement that allows for some human connection across the aisle is gone. For now. And have you noticed, when we wear our masks, how we don’t really look at each other any more? We stare straight ahead or down on the ground, focused on getting, quickly, from here to there. It’s like we have become zombies, moving about the streets or mall passageways, dull eyed and disconnected. Then a step into a restaurant or coffee shop, the mask comes off and suddenly we are and feel human again. Ah, I recognise you!
Social distancing and wearing masks has effectively prevented us from doing the very thing that can bring us closer together, relating as human beings. As for that ridiculous temperature “gun” that gets pointed at our foreheads. What a way to feel welcomed. Every time it happens it’s like I am being held up at gunpoint. I feel a bit silly to be so affected by it but it’s vaguely traumatising to be confronted by that little plastic “weapon”.
Stuck behind screens, fixated on the news, fake and real, force fed through every available online channel, we have become more polarised and disengaged from our friends, communities and fellow citizens. If you have not already done so, watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. Be warned. The way we are manipulated and used is frightening.
Remember “it starts with me”
We advocate that it starts with me, and as Eckhart Tolle says, The world can only change from within. We have to ensure we attend to our inner worlds before we start trying to change our external worlds. That means having a good, healthy relationship with yourself first. When your energy field is raised, you impact and increase the energy field out there too. It is more important than ever to look after yourself emotionally, psychologically as well as physically.
Then reach out. To friends, family, and colleagues. Also to the cashier, the car guard and the guy at the door waving the temperature gun and sanitizer at you. Find opportunities to connect in person. It really makes a difference. Drop the mask, for a moment, and smile.
As always, we are available to offer support, answer questions or engage one-on-one around what you may be experiencing or feeling. Both of us offer coaching for stress and anxiety so please reach out if you are finding it difficult to cope. Reply to this email or WhatsApp us on +27-82-901-2404 to reach us.
How does Shape of Emotion work – Part 2
In this video we explore the third step (there are four) of Shape of Emotion as a process and tool. The third step is to “observe” the emotion. If you’d like to experience Shape of Emotion, we invite you to join our next Emotional Fitness Class. Watch the video
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.