This COVID thing has been one hell of a bitch, am I right? Are you sick of talking about it yet? I know I am. And yet, it keeps coming up, because we’re all living it. Each. and. every. day. In some shape or form. As life begins to return to normal, I’m sure many of us would like to leave it all behind. Forget it even happened. And yet, we can’t. It has shaped us in ways we don’t yet know. It is now a part of our history, our lives.

Everyone has their COVID story. Imagine the tales we’ll tell our grandkids someday. “During the pandemic of 2020, I was…” and no two stories will be the same. What’s your COVID story?

Have you found yourself in moments of grief, depression, anxiety, or helplessness trying to remember that countless others have it worse than you? If you have, let me ask you now to stop. Stop comparing your grief, pain, and suffering to that of others, because the truth is that we all go through hardship and it affects each of us differently. What may seem like nothing to you could be devastating to someone else. And what may seem unbearable to that guy over there, could be the least of what the woman beside him has endured.

We all have our story and our truth. The truth of what we’ve survived, how we handled it, how it’s shaped us, and what we do from there. Do not let anyone get inside your head and tell you that your pain is not warranted, that it cannot be expressed openly, that you have no right to feel the way you feel. You just feel, and breathe, and cry if you feel like it, and when you’ve processed that pain, ask yourself, “what now?” What do you need? What’s missing? What would make it all better?

And maybe then, once you’re free of judgment, you’ll find the answers you need to glimpse something better. A way out of the grief and the pain. Only from there can you start to rebuild and shape a life that’s truly yours. A life that you can own, that brings you true joy and a sense of purpose. Have you caught that glimpse?