GUILT & WEDDINGS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
With over 2,300,000 confirmed cases and over 160,000 deaths worldwide, COVID-19 has impacted us all in one way or another. It’s really wild, if you think about it, that we’re even LIVING through this time, much less thriving, loving, and celebrating.
Many of us will never be able to fully comprehend what some people have gone through (and will continue to go through) during this global pandemic. People are losing their jobs, loved ones, businesses, and lives. But, what if you’re feeling a sense of loss over something that might not sound like it holds as much gravity? What if you have guilt about being sad, excited, or disappointed during this time? What I want to talk about today is the guilt of these feelings of excitement, disappointment, etc., and some ways to be gentle with yourself as you navigate the “it’s all relative” issues that we are all dealing with.
Though you may not be experiencing sickness or death of a loved one, being laid off, or worse – we’re all likely feeling some sort of loss. Maybe you’ve been excited to start a new job that has now been pushed off, or you’re about to announce your pregnancy and feel guilty about being excited. Maybe you’re a business owner who is actually benefiting from the frantic buying that consumers are doing during this time, or maybe you’re just enjoying the time at home. To say that there are HUGE emotions going on during this time would be putting it lightly.
So. What if your wedding was scheduled for a week from today, when we’re all still on a national shutdown? What if you’ve decided to reschedule, postpone, cancel, or downsize? Talk about ALLL of the emotions. You might be feeling guilty about celebrating your mini social-distancing ceremony, or guilty about being sad for having to postpone. How is it fair to be sad or excited or ANYTHING about your wedding when people are DYING? Well, guess what, toots? This is the time we’re living in. If you’re sad about pushing off your wedding.. that’s OK! If you’re excited to be signing your marriage license with your lover, that’s OK. If you’re feeling the loss of your cancelled event, that’s OK. We’re all going through our own feelings of loss, and your experience is important. Your feelings are important.
Two imperative facts to remember are this: 1. If you’re postponing or cancelling or significantly changing your gathering, you are literally SAVING LIVES (don’t underestimate the critical importance of keeping your loved ones home), and 2. Everyone is experiencing this pandemic in a different way, so respecting everyone’s experience is huge. While we want to encourage you to get in yo’ feelings… don’t disregard the importance of a frontline worker’s experience or someone who has lost a family member’s mourning, etc.
Let’s talk about what to do once you come to the realization that you’re having all of these feelings, and what steps can you take to make yourself feel better. We have a few ideas (below) and hope you’ll share more in the comments.
1. G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E (one more time for the people in the back)!
So so so much research points to gratitude being one of the most powerful tools to deal with tough-to-swallow emotion. We can literally trick our brains into letting the good things in by consciously visiting them in our thoughts. Neuroscientist Rick Hanson explains the sticking ability of negative verses positive thoughts in his book, Buddha’s Brain: "Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones." So, in order to get these good thoughts to stick (especially during this absolutely nutty time) try this 10-second gratitude practice:
First, catch yourself in the negative thought (i.e. “Ugh, I’m so sad and embarrassed that I had to reschedule my wedding. I hope people don’t think I’m getting cold feet or that I’m being selfish”) Second, stop yourself for *juuust* long enough to shift your initial thought into a moment of gratitude. Maybe tell yourself something that you’re thankful for in work, your family, your pet, or your accomplishments. Once you land on something that you can flood your brain with gratitude over, focus on it for a few seconds. It may seem silly, but TRULY holding a positive thought in your brain for more than just a blip will help you to not only switch your mood around, but ultimately to bit by bit rewire your brain toward positivity.
2. Reach Out
Isolation in your feelings can be absolutely painful. Don’t forget to call your people, write a letter, paint something that reflects how you’re feeling or even just write in a journal to get your thoughts outside of your head and into the world. Remember that the act of doing and receiving can absolutely be mutually beneficial.
3. If You’re Postponing your Wedding…
You might feel like all of your planning, time, and stress over creating the PERFECT wedding day for your guests has gone to waste if you’ve been forced to postpone. Try to remind yourself that choosing to postpone does NOT mean that this has all been for nothing. All of your hard work and planning will still come to fruition, just at a little later than you were anticipating. And, we’ll say it again… you’re CHOOSING to save lives. By not having people gather for your day during this crazy time, you’re making the CHOICE to flatten the curve and save the people you love (and the people they love). For us, remembering that it’s a choice (and a smart one, at that) can be empowering and calming.
At the end of the day, uncertainty is hard. And this pandemic has made all of our lives absolutely riddled with uncertainty. Even if you’re not our client, not engaged, or not even remotely interested in weddings, we are here for you. Shoot us a message, DM, email, snail mail, whatever – we’re here for you. xx
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