I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Just Be Kind. That's It - How Hard Is That?
The Judging And Hostility Has Reached A New Low - Let's Reach Above
Right now, I am very clear about how stressed out people are.
I am very clear about the pressures of various stripes that we are all facing, and in many ways, the world is just not pleasant right now. People are feeling discouraged and angry and depressed, particularly as the current COVID surge is occurring. There's a whole lot of finger-pointing and blaming, and while I'm not saying that it's unwarranted, it's all gotten to be a bit much, wouldn't you say?
Please don't misunderstand me. I know people are angry that they're still wearing masks, that they can't see their loved ones, or that they can't hang out with their friends and family in the ways that they used to. Their favorite establishments might be operating under restricted hours or closed, and there are also restrictions on how many people can gather inside and outside, which makes having friends and family over truly problematic, particularly when we're heading into the holidays.
However, there are people who are going to the gym, wearing their masks the entire time, and sanitizing properly. There are people who are carefully choosing how they interact in public and where while still taking appropriate public precautions given the pandemic. There are people still attending classes of varying sorts, sanitizing as much as is practicable, and keeping good social distance from those around them.
Are there people flouting the rules? Sure - there always are, regardless of what might be happening. There are people who don't pay taxes, people who disobey speed limits, and people who in general feel as though the rules for public safety and good public conduct just don't apply to them. Do we judge them? Silently or otherwise, yes. That almost always happens, and it's not naive to say that. It's human nature to judge.
However, there seems to have developed a divisiveness between individuals that has only become more pronounced as the months since the COVID pandemic broke have worn on. Some people who have chosen to restrict their movements altogether for whatever reason are looking at others who are carefully doing other activities and being less than kind about it. These people who are perhaps not being as restrictive in their movements but still being cautious are possibly engaging in activities in order to bolster their mental health, which by all accounts has been a struggle for many individuals during the pandemic. They might be carefully engaging in activities - masking up, sanitizing and keeping distanced - as a way to demonstrate to others in their lives the fine art of resilience. There are potential ways, for instance, to continue to be engaged in our own respective lives during this pandemic without crumbling under the pressure of the changes it's created, and kids in particular need to learn to do that safely. Perhaps individuals are trying to demonstrate cautious, responsible engagement in these activities for those reasons - to role model the behavior for the people in their lives.
What I'm finding is that there are those who choose to lump people who are being careful in their approach to their activities currently in with those who are basically giving the middle finger to the ongoing governmental regulations and hanging out with however many people they want right now, and that's not fair. Do all of us need to exercise caution right now? Absolutely. There is no question, with COVID numbers surging in various spots worldwide, that greater caution needs to be exercised.
However, what we don't need is the judgment that's cast upon people who are moving through their daily routines, whether they are restricting their routines altogether or whether they are choosing to cautiously engage in various activities. For some, engagement in something that resembles a regular routine is what's keeping their mental health on an even keel - and as we all know, if your mental health takes a nosedive, it's not too far of a leap for your physical health to also take a hit, and who can afford that even without a pandemic?
We need to collectively stop the judgment. We don't know what people's stories are, and we have no right to judge those stories. Should those who are completely ignoring governmental regulations face increasingly punitive measures? Absolutely. Should we judge those who are either cautiously engaging in increased activities or who are restricting their movements altogether? Absolutely not.
We have to lead with kindness, starting now.
Kathy Henderson from Pa on November 24, 2020:
Significant points, preach, we need a little kindness, starting NOW! :)