On 1st May this year, the BBC reported on a YouGov poll asking people how long they could manage in lockdown. The research indicated that 82% of UK Britons could continue in lockdown to June, 63% could continue to July but only 50% could easily carry on that way to August.
In addition, it suggested that people fall into three categories:
- Those accepting it
- Those suffering
- Those resisting
On Wikipedia, ‘Acceptance’, at least in terms of human psychology, is described as ‘a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it. The concept is close in meaning to acquiescence, derived from the Latin acquiēscere (to find rest in)’.
With regard to Covid-19, there are people who think that the risks have been exaggerated and the lockdown overly harsh. However, even for these people, greater acceptance of the fact that life is different at the moment is likely to bring more peace of mind and lower distress. Life is not always as we would want it to be. (For some, life is rarely, if ever, as they would want it to be).
The word ‘acquiescence’ could be seen as defeatist – life being full of drudgery, of just ‘getting by’ and ‘accepting our lot’. The crucial thing though is having an awareness of what we can change and what is out of our control. Stressing about things that are outside our control is pointless – and it is better to accept some things and focus our energies instead on those things that we can influence and effect change. This re-focusing may mean that we start to actually exert more influence here.
Covid-19 may require a level of acceptance from us all – that life, as it gets back to normal, will be a new, different normal. Whilst we know on one level that life’s ups and downs (and pandemics) are outside our control – the success of humans in changing the planet has led to us forgetting this reality.
In addition to the difficulties in coping with lockdown and social distancing, there are some people who, in some aspects at least, are enjoying some of the changes that the pandemic has brought about. Human activity has slowed down and there are many examples of the natural environment healing itself. Carbon emissions have fallen dramatically and wildflowers are growing in greater abundance as council’s have not maintained parks. Life is, literally, quieter. Yet, even such feelings can have negative aspects as we feel ‘guilt’ for enjoying some of the effects of a global pandemic.
Therapy offers an opportunity to change things in our lives – and with regard to the things that are beyond our control, to enable greater acceptance. We may even discover in therapy, that some of the things that we thought were outside our control are actually areas in which we can become empowered and make a better life for ourselves.
As I say on my website “Therapy is all about feeling comfortable – which is why I offer a free, no-obligation initial session” – which for the moment at least, has to be online.