The COVID-19 quarantine (social distancing, stay-at-home, whatever you want to call it) has brought forth a lot of mean girl (and guy) tendencies. In the last two weeks, I’ve weighed in on complaints, sometimes hysterical ones, about the lack of social distancing in my neighborhood. I witnessed more than one ugly rant on social media from friends who used their pages to direct profanity-laden rants at their friends. One of my friends was verbally chastised on the same platform for posting a very neutral comment and reaction to the current situation. I’ve finally taken to filtering some of my platforms because the rhetoric was so hateful (not because we disagreed but because of the hatefulness and/or groupthink shaming mentality.)
I get it. There are bad things happening all around us as we face two pandemics: COVID-19 and panic. We can’t choose what happens to us. I know some people are going through even tougher times than most and I don’t want to minimize that. If you have a loved one in the hospital and you can’t see them or worse, know someone who has lost the battle with coronavirus, I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling. If you’ve lost your job, I know you’re scared about being able to support yourself and families. These are crazy, tough times.
Even though we can’t choose what happens to us, we can choose how we respond. Being angry is a choice (one I have made – see an earlier post on the time I responded with anger. It didn’t end well.) Shaming others is a choice. Being friendly, smiling at your neighbors, sharing funny memes and stories, supporting local businesses and charities to help those impacted by the shutdown – all choices.
Every day, we get to choose. How do you want to show up for your life?
I’ve been fortunate to see many good things too. Restaurant owners coming together to help those who have lost their jobs. Companies donating and starting funds to help those out of work. Virtual shops set up to support small, local businesses. People stepping up to foster homeless dogs and cats. Individuals tipping generously when getting takeout or curbside delivery. Virtual happy hours where friends catch up and remain connected. Neighbors talking with one another (while keeping social distance). Even strangers smiling, nodding or saying hello to each other.
And if we choose something we regret?
Then we can choose again. That’s the true beauty of life.
Fear is greater than any virus.
Hope is greater than fear.
Love is greater than all the above.
What will you choose today?