Coronavirus compassion


The coronavirus freak out that we’re witnessing (or, ahem, being a part of) shows us what we’ve already known: our spending is primarily (like 99%) driven by emotions.
All over social media I see people shaming others for stockpiling toilet paper and bottled water. They explain how low the chances are of getting the virus, how relatively few people have died, and how other diseases are far more deadly. While they may be right, it’s the wrong approach.
Logic doesn’t change feelings. There are not enough (accurate) facts and figures in the world that will change behavior when someone is afraid. You’ll go blue in the face trying to alter the way that someone acts in the face of fear. I don’t recommend it.
Yes, it’s annoying that the shelves are empty of the things we need every day, but yelling at people (either IRL or by way of an ALL CAPS post on Facebook) won’t solve anything. It’ll get support from those who already agree with the sentiments, but how many minds does it change? Has such a post ever received a comment like, “OMG you’re SO right. I’m being crazy and I need to stop! I’m so sorry!! I swear I’m heading back to Costco right this minute to return my truckload of TP so that everyone can have some. Thank you for snapping me out of it!!! I’m so #grateful.”
Never, right? (Or correct me if I’m wrong here!)
Shame and logic can’t override fear or the behaviors they cause. No one, including your own positive self-talk, can ever help you make better choices, or behave in healthier ways, just by telling you the right way to go about things.
Wait, did I just put myself out of a job with that?  How can I, as a financial coach, offer to guide you to financial fitness, if telling you the truth about how to achieve it, doesn’t work?  Well, because there’s more to what I do than giving you the steps to becoming financially fit. The other indispensable piece is identifying the thoughts, beliefs and feelings that drive sabotaging behavior, and then healing them.
Sometimes healing is simple, and awareness – like in the form of an epiphany – is enough. More often, it’s not. Old habits, including feelings about situations, die hard. Occasionally, people will just need reminders about the needed shift in their thinking. Other times, an emotion is fully entangled in a person’s nervous system, and they need help releasing it.
Everyone’s different. We all need different levels of healing. It can even vary within one person – they can heal some feelings easily, while other issues need months of therapy. And there are plenty of folks that fall somewhere between.
When, in a session, I uncover a limiting thought or belief, I get excited. I do my best to affirm the feeling. I don’t try and talk you out of it. Instead, I get super curious. I probe. Gently and respectfully, but with the intensity of a lawyer (hey, that law degree turned out to be useful after all!)
My goal is to help you understand as much as possible, where the feeling comes from, and how its driving your unwanted behavior. It’s to help you see how old stories (sometimes very old) from your past have consequences for you presently.

Then I help you feel the feeling thoroughly. It’s why clients often feel that our sessions are like therapy.  If someone can’t clear the feeling in our work together, I recommend that they delve into it with their actual therapist. We know it’s clear when the story (and it’s associated feelings) no longer drive unhealthy or irrational behavior and the actions you want to take are easy and natural; there;s no resistance.
When it comes to the panic-stricken behavior you see as the Coronavirus saga plays out, remind yourself how hard it is for you to change something that triggers fear in you, despite all the good reasons you have to act differently. That kind of empathy and compassion for yourself and others may be just as valuable right now as all that hand washing.

With loads of love,

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