Giving ourselves permission to feel sadness and anxiety

A few days ago I was scheduled to deliver a marketing workshop to a bunch of educators at a state conference, and I just didn’t know how.

I mean, I give workshops all the time. But this was one was more difficult than usual.

The day before the workshop, Trump was elected U.S. President, and I was paralyzed on the couch. Eventually several of my cats came and snuggled with me, and I would have laid (lain?) there all day covered with cats, except I needed to get up and deliver on my commitment. I didn’t know how to summon the courage to face the day.

Then I got this email from friend and nonprofit consultant, Marlene Oliveira of moflow:

Hello Julia,
Yes, I have a Nonprofit MarCommunity blog post ready for you as planned today. But I just can’t talk to you about the latest changes to social media platforms at the moment.
I’m feeling sad, confused and anxious. I need a day or two to process what has just happened, and I suspect you might too.
Because of the work you do, I know you’re already dedicated to making the world a better place. Today, I’m taking heart from the fact that I work with, and am surrounded by people like you.
Sending you all of my gratitude and many, many virtual hugs.
P.S I don’t want to diminish the fantastic blog post Lauren Girardin wrote for us; it’s ready if getting back to the usual is what works for you today. But we’ll just talk about it later, okay?

I drew courage from her words since in a way she was giving me permission to also feel sad, confused and anxious, which I most definitely was.

I got to the workshop and acknowledged my feelings right at the start: “This has been a hard day”. The group nodded their heads in agreement. I didn’t need to explain why.

I also happened to be wearing a hand brace that day. I held up my hand and continued: “I also fell off my bike and sprained my thumb. AND the projector doesn’t work.” [true story] Murmurs of sympathy and gentle laughter. 

I had hopefully passed on the permission to feel lousy. It was a post-election-lousy-feeling permission chain.

I was also genuinely happy to be off the couch and in the company of others who care about making the world, and their communities a better place – I let them know that, too.

4 thoughts on “Giving ourselves permission to feel sadness and anxiety

  1. You know, I wonder why I don’t alway open with that kind of line… Let me express my gratitude to you by thanking YOU for letting me work with a group of people who I know are committed to changing the world, making it a better place. It’s an honor for me to be able to work with you. Thanks, Julia, for the suggestion!

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