As we begin to feel a shift in the strict quarantine regulations, it’s natural for us to experience a variety of conflicting emotions. We might remember happy times with our family, the mending of relationships, opportunities taken, and a time for reflection and introspection. However, thoughts may surface about times that we were not at our best, or things we wished we had said or done. We may find ourselves with regrets about opportunities lost or relationships hurt.
The turn of a page in the quarantine regulations may cause us to forget how much stress and pressure we were under. It is easy for the brain to instinctively think about regrets and missed opportunities. Yet, it is important to remember that the time in quarantine was and is a time of survival, a time when one works towards meeting the most basic needs even if we were not always the best version of ourselves. When one is under stress and pressure we tend to be at a heightened sense of irritability, leading to more breakdowns, faster anger “explosions,” and less control of our emotions.
A way in which to move forward from one chapter to another with strength and optimism is allowing ourselves to forgive. Reminding ourselves that it is normal that we might have acted in a way we wish we had not; that we were not always sensible, that we got irritated faster, or that there were things we could have done differently. It is easier to think about all the things we “could have, should have done” when we are no longer in such duress. It is only fair to acknowledge that quarantine is a very unnatural way to live. It is normal that we were not the best version of ourselves at all times.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool to enable one to grow and move forward. It recognizes that we have acted in a way we regret, but it acknowledges that it is not the way we want to be moving forward. Once we can be kind to ourselves and accept that the person we were during quarantine does not represent who we are, maybe we can find it in ourselves to also forgive the people around us. The same stress and anxiety that plagues us during quarantine plagues our loved ones. Forgiving ourselves and others will enable us to decrease our overall feelings of stress and empower us to continue to grow and be the best version of ourselves.