Hanging On

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.”

88 thoughts on “Hanging On

    • That is such a good point! People are acting out of their own understandings and fears, so that ‘s exactly why we need to be patient with them as they work through this. Making enemies will only hurt us all. Thanks for that insightful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It really isn’t! But yes, a self audit does help. I need to think, “Do I want to say that because I’m angry and unhappy, or do I want to say that because it will actually help?” If it’s the first, then I need to shut it. If it’s the second, then it’s time to speak out!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I think I’d handle it better if it was just our country. But how do you wrap your head around a virus that has managed to bring the whole world to it’s knees? It just sort of creeps me out…. So all I can do is to tap into my best self and remember that we’re all scared and no one knows where this is going, so to treat others as kindly as I hope they will treat me.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Bravo, Ann! So well and so kindly spoken. I try to remember that one of the ways that fear plays out is anger. Then I find myself gnashing my teeth at those who are sure they have the answers and they don’t. So when I remember to stay calm and recognize the sense of powerlessness that we all feel…I feel kinder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I struggle with all those self-proclaimed “experts” too. Even the real experts have gotten this wrong more than once, because it is such a new situation. It really does help to remember that most of the rhetoric is a result of fear, and when I can realize that people are just afraid, either of the virus or of losing everything they have, then I can be kind and compassionate towards them. And that is really the only response that will help.

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  2. After reading your inspiring post today, a little prayer I once heard surfaced in my memory:
    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, stress can bring out the worst in people, because they are reacting out of fear and frustration. And face it, we’re all frustrated these days. But like you, I’m going to try to remember to simply breathe rather than react, because fighting with each other only makes everything worse. Take care, Lorie!

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  3. I admire your intention to be kind, regardless of who you’re talking with. I decided early on that I’d have no opinions about what anyone said or did. I’ve found that to be more difficult than I thought it’d be. Staying detached from the fray is tricky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I struggle with that too, and I also find my opinions shifting as each new fact emerges. The way I see it, we’re sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place, with no easy answers. So all we can do is our best, be kind to one another, and pray that we find a vaccine and a quick and accurate test for everyone very, very soon. Take care, Ally!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill Gates was on Colbert’s late night show yesterday. Gates is very smart and very generous with his wealth. He’s heavily involved with the virus situation. He’s pretty optimistic that treatments will be developed that can save people that are badly affected by the virus. And he’s pretty optimistic too that an effective vaccine will be developed. He’s someone whose statements I tend to believe.

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  5. Someone else’s pain is always so much easier to bear than our own. That statement is worth its weight in gold for exposing the nakedness of sentiments going wild. The cataclysmic pandemic is the high point we must decide if we should continue our journey in reverse-evolution back to the primitive times when each of us had to fend for himself or herself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me, too, Alan! I have opinions, and that’s okay, but I have to remind myself not to use them as a weapon against others. And honestly, no one has any clue what the long-term effects of all this will be, so it’s kind of silly for us to keep trying to should each other down. All I know for sure is it’s very hard on everyone, even if for different reasons. So we need to be gentle with each other right now.

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  6. Again, your post resonates with me!! Name calling, shouting, downplaying even mocking others fears is rampant on social media and in the news. It’s very discouraging to watch. What we can do is choose to be different. If we all choose kindness and compassion, what a better world it would be. Thank you for sharing so honestly, Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words, Brenda! Honestly, I get much more anxious about the way I see people reacting to this virus than I do about the virus itself. I’m learning to limit my time spent on media and social media outlets, big time. Otherwise, I would quickly lose my faith in human nature!

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  7. I live in a small town in UK,…..we are in lockdown! I don’t listen to the news……ever,it increases the fear,which doesn’t help anything, yet I’m still informed. Everyday the neighbor’s stand outside their front doors at noon for a dance , one neighbour plays music from her car,it brings that community spirit to the fore,and every Thursday night we all stand outside again and applaud our health service…….you’re right,helping others , and counting your blessings, helps you.

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    • Sometimes I think the news is designed to keep us all in a permanent state of fear, and let’s face it, this virus situation is a gift for the fear mongers. I’ve heard everything from “we need to stay in lockdown until a vaccine is found, in 2023” to “this will last until August and then come back even worse in mid-September” to “there is no virus, it’s just a government power-grab.” It’s crazy! I’m learning very quickly to be very selective about who I listen to. Take care over there in the UK!!!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah,the news is very depressing,and it doesn’t need to be ….it should be balanced….they update the death toll but they don’t tell you more people survive it. It is scary but there’s lots of good news too….and it’s what people want….hope,and to know their neighbour cares cos they are being looked out for…..stay safe and look out for each other!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know what helps me? Looking for facts on my own. For instance, I google the total population of a country, and then look at the figures of how many people in that country got the virus. And then how many people who got it died from it. (Obviously not completely accurate because they keep changing how this is reported, but it gives you a ballpark figure.) Yes, even one death is too many, but when you look at the actual odds of getting it and/or dying from it, it does help me be much less afraid. And we all need hope in order to stay sane and caring! It also helps me to see how many people are going out of their way to help others….my mom has gotten many calls and letters from her church friends and old neighbors, and that really cheers her up and helps her tolerate the isolation at her retirement home.

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  8. I appreciate your resolve to try and be kind, which is probably the best thing we can do right now to get through this. There are times when I get angry at all the noise you refer to, and all the misguided expert advice. But you make a great point about there already being enough pain in the world…I don’t need to add to it either.
    The one thing I never get tired of hearing is that we are all in this together. It’s true, even when we’re somewhat insulated from other. Thanks for your level-headed and thoughtful approach, Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Des! I try to remember that most of the ranting and expert advice comes from a place of fear and frustration, so that if I react to it, I’m just fanning the flames of a fire that is already burning far too hot. Now is the time to give each other support and hope, and for different voices to be heard and respected as we try to find the best way forward. This is new, and world-wide. That alone makes it hard to wrap our minds around!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Faith certainly helps! And so does silence, if we can’t express our opinions civilly. I think we humans have a hard time with uncertainty (I know I do) and so we look for quick and easy answers, and especially for someone to blame. But that doesn’t solve the problem. Blessings to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Be kind, Be humble, Be safe, and Love all you can! That is my advise which also includes watch only reliable news sources and then be an educated human and research what you have heard and then proceed forward for yourself and your community. Stay local, shop local, support local farms and people who work hard no matter where they come from or what God they believe in. See all that is possible in the universe and rejoice in all the diversity. Be safe my blog friend and a say an extra prayer for your St Louis healthcare workers they really need everyone’s support right on on the front lines of this enemy.❤️

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    • Thanks, Ellen! I see so many people ridiculing or shaming those who have a different attitude toward this pandemic, not realizing that their attitude is result of being in totally different position. We really are all hurting, just in varying degrees and in different ways. So we need to be gentle with each other, and ourselves, I think.

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  10. Very good post! 🙂 Kindness to ourselves and others is so important. Everyone does have a different take on this situation depending upon their own circumstances. Day by day is the best we can do right now… Judging others is a no-win situation that just leads to more heartache. I wish more people could see it the way you have put this forth…everyone would be so much better off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! Whenever I see someone “going off” on another person or group of people, it bothers me so much. We don’t know what their circumstances are, or why they believe the way they do. And face it, with this current situation, no one really knows how it will all end. We just take it one day at a time and try to be as kind to each other as we can. It’s not always easy, but it really is the best way forward, I think. Thanks for your comment, Linda!

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  11. Our problems here are a little different but your approach (kindness & compassion) would still work perfectly. Here, many have dismissed the real dangers of the virus and are all in support of returning to the old way of life – crowds, physical touch, no masks. That worries me because I don’t want to go back to that life until it’s safe. But it’s not enough of a concern here, and I doubt many would be kind and responsible enough to do what they can to ensure others don’t fall ill because of them.

    Here too, fearmongering doesn’t tick as many boxes as a lackadaisical attitude does. I am not afraid of the virus but I am very concerned (rightfully) about it and I believe in doing whatever I can to be safe and to keep my family safe. But will it be enough against the attitudes and practices of others which can put us all in unnecessary danger?

    The solution to everything – even the fear or the lack of it – is your simple kindness. If more people here could be like you, Ann – kind, responsible and compassionate – we’d all get through this so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that is very different from here, and in it’s own say, just as bad. Here, we are letting our fear of the virus sort of override everything else, and I think that is going to leave us with some very big, long-term problems. It sounds as if those in your country don’t understand just how contagious it can be, and what happens when hospitals get overwhelmed if everyone gets sick at once. Personally, I wear my mask when I go to the grocery store or take supplies to my mom, stay at least six feet away from anyone outside my immediate family circle, and wash my hands and sanitize them dozens of times each day. I don’t give in to fear, but I am being sensible and doing what I can to make sure I don’t get this or pass it on to someone else. It seems to me that going to either extreme is dangerous. But yes, no matter which extreme we’re dealing with, kindness works better than lashing out. People simply don’t listen when we lash out, and we just make a bad situation worse. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with people who aren’t taking responsible precautions! That must be hard!!

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  12. I agree, Ann. There is so much finger pointing going on right now and I’m sure some of it is justified but do we really need to hear that now. What we need is hope and positivity but I don’t think that sells so we’re stuck with what we have. The good part is we can turn it off, which is what I usually do.

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    • Me, too, George! This is an election year, which makes it worse for the United States because all the politicians are thinking in terms of getting re-elected more than doing what is best for the country as a whole. At a time when we should be listening to each other and trying to find a way forward, we’re just assigning blame and almost exploiting this situation to prove how much better “we” are than “them.” It’s sad, but as you say, we can’t control it, so we just have to tune it out. I figure there will be plenty of time to blame this Fall, closer to the actual election. Stay safe, George! I know your state is hit particularly hard. Good times will come again, someday!

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  13. You have a good attitude, Ann. I thought this would bring more people together, instead we are even more divided. Yet I try to focus on those who are coming together as if we really are all in this together. This has touched us all in some way and we are not out of the storm yet.

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    • I know! Usually after a huge disaster, we come together, if only for a little while. But I guess since it’s an election year, we’ve just deepened the divide. You wouldn’t think a global pandemic could become one nation’s political issue, but it has, which hurts us all. Luckily, as you say, not everyone is reacting this way, and that does give me hope. I just wish more people would realize that their actions and words are actually making this situation even worse. But all I can do is vow not to join the fray….

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  14. Yes, we can all relate to this Ann and those feelings of frustration. I’ve turned off the fear mongering channels because I can’t handle the negativity. I’m not burying my head in the sand for a minute but I refuse to listen to all of these so called experts. Here’s to working together and getting through this with compassion and understanding. Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I just wrote a comment on your post along those same lines, Miriam! I have to have hope to stay sane, and there are far too many people, expert or not, who seem to revel in stamping that out. All we can do is the best we can to stay safe, take care of each others, and keep on being voices of compassion and reason, rather than fear. Thanks for the comment, and you take care too!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Well said, Ann. I am trying to stay positive, too. It is not always easy. And patience. Patience is definitely the thing I am working with the most. It has never been my strong suit and now with telecommuting and related tech issues and waiting for replies instead of just going to someone’s office, whew. It’s draining.

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    • Oh, Kim, I’m right there with you! Working on staying positive and being patient, and managing it better some days than others. And that’s okay. This is a very hard situation, for so many reasons, and people are beginning to take their fears and frustrations out on each other. It’s hard not to get caught up in it, especially with no definitive answers on when it will be over. All we can do is try! I honestly believe that if we keep trying to be our best selves, that will be good enough.

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  16. Great post, as always. I’ve noticed a lot of shaming. Even on Instagram, which is supposed to be fun, right?!! It’s crazy! People make assumptions, and it turns out the photo is from last summer. Like everyone is an idiot. Even though most all of us get it. At least I hope that’s the case.

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    • Yes, fear makes people lash out, and social media has introduced the whole concept of “name and shame” as though that were a good thing. (Perhaps these people would also like to bring back stocks???) We don’t know what anyone’s circumstances are, and it’s never a good idea to judge without all the facts. Even with the facts, gently educating is more effective than trying to shame someone into being good. I hate that even some public figures are encouraging people to report on each other….the other day, our police got a phone call about a car parked on an elementary school parking lot where the grounds are closed to the public. Turned out to be the custodian, doing his job. As he’s supposed to be doing!

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  17. WP is the only social media I engage in, Ann. I’m insulating from the barrage of vitriol that people feel entitled to spew. It is hard to stay positive when worrying about the state of the world, all the suffering and struggling, and the unnecessary vileness heaped on top. I too try to focus on kindness. Not only will it sustain others, but it’s good for my spirits. And yes, we must fill the well in order to draw water to others. ❤

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    • I’m learning to reduce my intake of both news and social media on an almost daily basis. Just once, it would be so refreshing to hear a public figure say, “We really don’t know, but we’re doing what we think is best and hoping it’s right.” Because that would be so much easier to cope with than all the different information that comes at us now, and how everyone is dug in to their own opinion and attacking anyone who feels differently. That will get us no where, I think. Kindness, tolerance and patience is what will move us forward, and also what helps me cope. I know how very much I need others to be kind and patient with me right now, so it seems the least I can do is to act that way towards others. Thanks so much for your comment!!

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  18. Ann, you make an excellent point about the futility of calling idiots, “idiots” and of adding stress into the system as there is already plenty of stress to go around. You also make a good point about the ease with which those wealthy enough to not feel the pain judge actions of those whose economic lifeline has come to an abrupt stop. And yet at the same time, because as you say it is a collective problem which requires a collective solution it is a tad challenging to see behaviors that fly in the face of our own understanding of the right behavior. For instance, it is hard to understand a vice president who visits hospital patients without a mask and misses the opportunity to role model or a decision to mandate that meat plants be required to operate, which of course puts the factory line operators at risk. Or closer to our case in Mexico, it is difficult to see clusters of foreigners hanging out at the only cafe open, without any kind of social distancing precautions. So yes, agreed that it is not productive to add anxiety or stress into the system but DAMN some people are doing some really stupid stuff.

    Peta

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  19. Great message Ann. We all have a choice, “But I can control my words and my actions…” I believe what we say and do each day matters. And your plea for compassion and understanding other situations is so important. I would add that we also remain compassionate toward ourselves as we navigate forward. This is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and each other. May we continue to choose love over fear. Take good care

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    • Thanks, Ali! That is a good point, we need to remember to be compassionate with ourselves during these difficult times too. And I do hope to learn more about myself during this time. Thank you for sharing your positive viewpoint, it is very much appreciated!

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  20. Well, hanging on for 45 days definitely hurts.. ( i have not been keeping track of the number of days but it is everywhere.. ) But then, that’s all we can do.. And like you said, we are all in it together.

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  21. Trying to do the same thing here, Ann, even though it’s tough what with all kinds of people nurturing useless conspiracy theories that only manage to make things worse. It’s awfully tempting to call them idiots, but like you said, it doesn’t help. If it would there would be definitely less of them around as there are. 😁

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    • That’s the truth! I have to say I might be tempted to use the word “idiot” if it did change people! I think the uncertainties of this pandemic, and the conflicting advice and information we get has brought out the worst in people, because it makes them afraid and none of us are at our best when we react out of fear. That’s why I’ve learned to be careful about how much attention I pay to the news, and to make sure I use my analytical skills when I hear something that doesn’t exactly make sense. Now is the time for tolerance and discernment…and to make sure we just breathe now and then!

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  22. Thank you for choosing kindness and also choosing to act, rather than simply reacting to the many slings and verbal arrows which abound lately. It’s heartening to hear of others doing what I’m also trying, particularly because so many negative examples are distressingly easy to find…

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    • Yes, I am really dismayed by how many people are allowing this to bring out their worst side, and especially with all the judgement that is going on. But we can’t control others, all we can do is behave the way that we believe is right. I loved your post on wearing masks, because I thought it did just that. And I have to believe that there are more reasonable people out there than we see, it’s just that the loud voices on both extremes get all the press, because that is what the press thrives on. Doesn’t mean we have to join in, though!

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