Becoming a manager at a young age has been a luxury for me as a person. Growing up and learning to interact with others in a positive, appreciative way was a growth process that could therefore go hand in hand. Looking back at that period, I dare to say that it was a trial and error. Some crucial moments have brought me to where I am now and how I feel now, not only as a professional but especially as a person.

The moment that stands out is very personal to me and absolutely determines how I now stand in life. In 2016 I had a miscarriage. Early in the pregnancy we lost our second child that we so much  looked forward to. I still remember the way I handled this sadness myself. It has become a method that I have been able to fall back on several times and which has also been my greatest happiness in this bizarre year ‘2020’.

Shortly after my miscarriage, there was a lot of grief: in me, in my husband and daughter, in my family. Family and friends sympathized, having their support was important for me to cope emotionally. But not from the start. Although I was always a smooth talker, very open and transparent about my opinion, ideas or feelingsā€¦ I was unable to talk about this with others. In contact with others I could express my emotions, cry together or seek comfort in a hug. But in order to move to the next stage in my grieving process, I had to be able to engage in a conversation with myself before I could start a meaningful conversation with others about what I was going through and what it did to me.

Picture by Frank Park on Unsplash

A few weeks after the miscarriage, I started the conversation with myself, out loud. As if my body was the other party that had abandoned me and with which I wanted to clear the air. I don’t know why I did that, it certainly wasn’t something I’d read about or gotten advice about. It just felt like necessary, intuitively I knew this conversation would be the first essential step in the process with myself. Learning to recognize and acknowledge my emotions, forgive my body for what had happened, mentally give this event a value and be able to place it. That was healing for me. My miscarriage has made me connect more deeply with myself and made me stronger. Looking back, it has been a valuable moment in my life for me, not a dark page in my own story.

I documented the steps I took then in my bullet journal. Afterwards I read it again several times, especially at the moments when I was again confronted with heavy emotions. My notes turned out to be a reference for learning to deal with anger, defeat or sadness. Getting everything clear for myself, feeling the ground become steadfast again before taking any action. These notes pointed out to me how strong I was and taught me to go back to my inner compass, to what my feelings were telling me. They taught me to trust my inner voice. I fear I had lost that reliance on my own compass over the years, and I believe I am not alone in this. How often do we bring out the chameleon in ourselves and do something because “it should” or “because it is expected of us”. While we can only be there for another by being there for ourselves in the first place. That does not mean that we go through life selfishly. Above all, it states that we live according to our intentions: to be good for ourselves and for each other.

Picture by Mariah Hewines on Unsplash

That life lesson turned out to be my greatest luck this year when the COVID19 pandemic broke out and shook the ground under all feet. I felt fear creeping up on me, and that’s always the worst counselor. So I resolved to go back to my own compass. What does it take for me to deal with this, rationally and emotionally? How can I keep my own resilience optimal so that I can stand strong in the roles I take on every day? As a mother, as a wife, as a manager, as a daughter, as a friend?
2020 is a year of challenge, of sadness, of fear for all of us. It is a marathon that we are still running, without really knowing when the finish will appear on the horizon. By not passing ourselves by, we can handle this. Together.