Perfectly Whelmed in a Pandemic: Lessons from a Fish By Dr. Paul Jenkins

POSTED BY on September 08, 2020

You have probably used the words overwhelmed and underwhelmed. They are opposites. The mere fact that these words describe a spectrum implies that there might be a state of being perfectly whelmed.

I began wondering if there is such a word so I looked it up

Basically, the definition of whelmed has to do with being completely surrounded by or buried in something. The best example that I can think of is a fish in water. A fish in water is perfectly whelmed or surrounded by, buried in water.

What if you were like the fish? And whatever it is surrounding you or burying you right now is simply the water to the fish? Would that be possible?

When we say we are overwhelmed, we are saying that we are buried, we are surrounded, but to the fish who is surrounded by the water, it simply is what it is.

Today, the world is dealing with the global COVID-9 pandemic. We are all completely surrounded by and buried in this pandemic.

When we say we are overwhelmed, we are attaching emotional energy to the thing that we are

completely surrounded by or buried in. Fish don't do that. They don't look at the water and say, "Oh, I'm completely surrounded by this water.' No. They simply exist within it.

That gives us some clues as to what we might be able to do when we feel overwhelmed. I would invite you to consider that whatever it is that you are completely surrounded by or buried under right now simply is what it is.

People ask me, "Dr. Paul, how do we deal with these challenging times? How do we stay positive during these challenging times?"

Guess what? These times are neutral times.

I get that there are challenges. There were challenges before COVID-19.

This simply is what it is. And it's no more challenging than some other times in history.

When we label our experiences as challenging or overwhelming, we have just attached emotional, anxious energy to what it is.

Picture for a moment letting go of that. Like the fish simply exist in the water. Swim in it.

And don’t label it challenging or overwhelming, it simply is what it is.

While you are swimming away, you may ask yourself, OK, now what am I going to do given the context?

Let’s say there is a global pandemic and you don’t have a mask. That is fine, but you want to go to a store that requires everyone to wear a mask.

What are you going to do? Get a mask, make something, deal with it.

When a situation arises and you want to go to feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself, is this something that should overwhelm me? No, detach the emotional connection.

I say this to my clients often, "Until you see it as a choice, it's not." See it as a choice and then use that powerful mind of yours to take it in a direction that might serve you better. You've got this.

You are you perfectly whelmed.

By Dr. Paul

Dr. Paul is an author, speaker, personal coach and positivity expert with 20+ years experience as a Professional Psychologist. His book Pathological Positivity and its pocket-sized companion Portable Positivity illuminate powerful principles that when applied can make an immediate difference in your life. Dr. Paul's channel Live On Purpose TV, available on YouTube, has a parenting playlist with a wide variety of subjects to help parents create positivity in their parenting.

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.