My area has been under a Shelter at Home order for approximately five weeks, with no end in sight. I’m not going to lie, maintaining a positive attitude gets harder with each passing day, and sometimes I manage it better than others.
Worry about the virus is bad enough, but seeing how people are reacting to that worry can be downright alarming. Social media is full of experts who know just exactly what we all ought to be doing, and who are telling us just that in CAPITAL LETTERS because we all know that our point is made so much better when we yell in the printed word. Name-calling is rampant, apparently based on the belief that calling someone we disagree with an idiot is a sure-fire way to convince them of the error of their ways. Obviously, there is a lot going on right now to make us anxious and to keep us anxious for a very long time.
Which is why I have decided that it is incredibly important that I practice kindness, tolerance and compassion just as much as I possibly can. Even when I don’t want to….or maybe especially when I don’t want to, because when I’m angry or frustrated I’m so much more likely to say something that hurts someone else. And there’s more than enough pain in the world right now without me adding to it.
One way or another, nearly everyone is hurting. Those who have lost a loved one to this virus; those who know they are especially vulnerable to catching the virus; those who are slowly but surely going broke from the restrictions; and those who are losing their battle with depression, chronic anxiety or addictions as these restrictions drag on. It’s easy for those who are financially stable to dismiss the concerns of those who are sinking into poverty, and it’s easy for those who are relatively young and healthy dismiss the concerns of those who aren’t. Someone else’s pain is always so much easier to bear than our own. But shame on us if we allow ourselves pretend it simply doesn’t exist.
I don’t know what the answer is, and I’m not interested in debating the details with anyone. I’m no expert in contagious diseases or the economy, and I have no way of predicting the future. All I know is that the best shot we have of moving forward as a society is to work together to we try our hardest to beat this virus and minimize the damage that it’s causing for all of us. And we can’t do that if we’re all hunkered down in our own little bubble, busy lashing out at those who don’t share it with us.
There’s so much I can’t control right now, no matter how much I wish it were otherwise. But I can control my words and my actions, and I can make sure I’m not making a bad situation even worse by adding to someone else’s pain. So I’m going to try very, very, hard to be kind. First to myself, because now is absolutely the time to indulge in a little self-care. And then I’m going to try being kind to others, even those whose attitude I can’t begin to understand. Because like it or not, we really are “all in this together.”