The Fear of Feeling

July 25, 2020 | Leadership & Management | Written by Mohamed Soliman

The current pandemic brought us to our life the three sensations that we all want to avoid: emotional isolation, uncertainty, and powerlessness.

Emotional isolation is what we feel when we cannot get in touch with one another, either because the current pandemic made them self-focused and lessened their empathy, diminished our own feelings of empathy and love, or made both sides self-focused and diminished empathy for one another. Uncertainty is what we feel when we have no clue whether we will lose our jobs. Powerlessness is what we feel when we accept our lack of control over our situation. We trained ourselves not to be in touch with these sensations. We discovered numerous securities to prevent feeling these sensations.

Anxiety, emotional distancing, and, the most dangerous of all, apathy to others’ suffering are some of the consequences of the constant bombardment by the COVID news of the layoffs and deaths. The news numbed our sensations. Considering that we all are feeling the impact of uncertainty this crisis brought to our lives, it does not seem to make sense that we are, at the same time as we are feeling this discomfort, also avoiding discomfort.

To avoid feeling pain, we might opt to put off confronting our feelings for days or even weeks. We do not want to take 10 min in the day to sit down and write down/dictate what we feel. We would rather stay stuck in our uneasy feeling or even we chose to numb our feeling. We might even choose to run away from it by thinking fast and watching anything that we find an exciting distraction.

When we are socially disconnected from others, isolation – and grief - is what we feel inside.⁣⁣

What are we so scared of if we face the pandemic feelings? What is the discomfort that we are attempting so hard to avoid?

One dilemma is that the pandemic feelings exist in close-by compartments to our pleasurable ones. Pain could be in the same box as happiness. It is sometimes not feasible to put a lid on delight without putting one on discomfort. What we chose is to block everything off - happiness and pain. Delight and discomfort. Empathy and isolation... Completely.⁣

We fear to acknowledge the feelings that the pandemic brought on us. What will we end up doing? We snap, withdraw, consume, move fast, overwork to avoid facing the fear of pandemic feelings. We forget that we will not die if we become in touch with our feeling of powerlessness facing this pandemic without losing hope. We can choose to acknowledge what we feel, try to see why we feel this way, reframe our thoughts and language which will change our feelings and hence we gain safety, security, and connectedness.

If we chose to avoid the pandemic feelings, then we will close our hearts to feeling the pain of others. The willingness to feel the discomfort of solitude and vulnerability opens the door to inner peace, delight, and liberty.