Photograph of shattered glass by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

How to take your power back

Move to safety. Before Ali could focus on healing from betrayal, his priority was to move toward safety. Once he felt physically and emotionally safe, he became calm and able to think more clearly.

Offer self-compassion and acceptance. Ali kept asking himself “Why me?” This brought up feelings of self-pity and resentment. But once he realized and then accepted he was doing his best, he was able to treat himself with more kindness.

Acknowledge your feelings and hear the message: Emotions can be signals that tell you what matters most to you, and how to take care of yourself. For example, this is what happened when Ali examined his feelings about his betrayal.

Emotion associated with betrayalMessage of that emotion
FearFear reminded Ali to protect himself. He was careful to stay socially distanced, wear a mask, and spend time with people taking similar precautions. 
AngerAnger energized Ali to act. For instance, anger at his supervisor encouraged him to have an honest conversation about how he felt. 
SadnessSadness showed Ali he’d lost something that matters to him. He was reminded to grieve his losses, such as trust in his supervisor and society.
ShameShame signaled Ali’s need for compassion. He felt embarrassed about being irritable, but his partner helped him understand why he felt that way.
GuiltGuilt invited Ali to examine his role in his situation. He committed to taking better care of himself to stop becoming so edgy or angry. Guilt also signalled his need to repair his relationships. He apologized to his partner and coworkers for snapping at them.
ConfusionConfusion caused Ali to step back and get curious. While he wanted to go to work, he also wanted to just lie under his covers and avoid everyone. He ultimately realized that COVID-19 creates conflicts of values, and perfect solutions to these problems rarely exist.