Reality v Expectations

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So, we are opening up again.

Are you filled with joy or filled with dread? And of course, there is a lot of feelings in between those two options.

This week I heard a psychologist talk of people displaying signs of agoraphobia (not wanting to leave the house) and other symptoms of social anxiety.

Some people are exploiting recommended guidelines and partying for the whole country.

We all have an idea of what life will be like when we all emerge, but not everyone will emerge in the same way.

We all have an idea of how we think we will feel as certain experiences and opportunities become available again, but we may feel differently than expected.

Beware.

Beware your expectations of yourself and the expectations others place on you. Beware of what you hope to feel, compared to the reality of what you feel.

In the first five Melbourne lockdowns, I wanted to remerge slowly and take my time. Now at the end of lockdown six, I think I want to run out into the streets naked, laughing hysterically and high-fiving and hugging everyone.

Something similar to this, without the kissing! Note: I was sent this video about a month ago, and I laughed and sobbed in equal measure.

But my reality is I have booked in my first ‘picnic’ with one friend and a trash and treasure market with another. Add on a family gathering, and I’m good for now.

I am excited about the cleaners coming next week and everyone being out of the house – a quiet and clean home. There are no words, just the feeling of a long exhale. #lovemyfamilybutyouknow

We are all going to emerge in different ways. What are your conscious or unconscious expectations of yourself and others?

Example: Your friend does want to spend time with you, but maybe not yet. Let that be okay; it is not a marker of their love for you; it is a marker of their love for themselves.

Your family may want you to gather in places you are not yet comfortable with; if you decide not to attend the gathering, it is not a marker of your love for them; it is a marker of your love for yourself.

Boundaries are essential right now. Who do you want to meet? For how long? In what context?

Asking is essential right now. Asking for more time, a different gathering place, asking for clarity.

Communication is essential right now.

Something I have chosen to do with the friends I am meeting with is to declare my vaccination status as part of my ‘let’s meet’ invitation. I know that everyone has different levels of anxiety for various reasons, so once I have communicated my status, I leave it to them to decide if, how, and when we meet.

One fully vaccinated friend shared that she will not do any indoor activities, cafes, restaurants, etc., until next year.

Another friend, not vaccinated, is too scared to leave the house because of the shame she has been made to feel by people close to her.

I have fully vaccinated friends, friends who are halfway there, and friends who have no intention of getting vaccinated. Their choice, not mine. We are still friends.

What is important to me is that we honour and respect the choices of each other. That we ask for what we need, communicate our boundaries, and love ourselves in the process.

We do not live in one reality; many realities are being lived.

What we have control over is the reality we create and how we want to honour and respect the reality of others.

Wishing you a weekend honouring yourself and others.

Kemi xxx

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