How we May be Harming Each other in the Name of our Moral and Spiritual Beliefs During this Pandemic
It is okay to be afraid.
It is okay to be sad.
It is okay to grieve the loss of the life you once knew and will never know again.
It is okay that this is traumatic.
It is okay if you are depressed or lonely.
Not only is it okay, but these are normal and healthy human reactions to loss, pain, uncertainty and death. Fear is not ‘bad’, in and of itself. Irrational fear can be very harmful. Living in fear is not healthy. However, we have fear for a reason.
Fear is what stops us from walking in front of moving traffic.
Of course, we could argue semantics and compare fear to awareness or the like, but regardless what you prefer to call it, the thing I am referring to keeps us alive and well every single day.
It is also okay to choose ‘not living in fear’.
It is even okay if you use the concept of ‘not living in fear’ to rationalize apathetic choices and evade responsibility for your actions.
It is okay if you are not afraid.
It is okay if you are not sad.
It is okay if you are not grieving the loss of the life you once knew and will never know again.
It is okay if this is not traumatic for you.
Everyone processes differently, cares about different things and is affected differently by this crisis.
Whatever way you choose (or don’t choose) to cope (or not cope) with this pandemic and its effect on the world is your choice and your choice alone.
It is NOT okay to shame others for their feelings or how they are coping with the pain and loss we are experiencing, collectively.
It is NOT okay to invalidate the feelings of others by responding to their feelings with implications that they should feel differently.
Yes, the power of our thoughts and attitudes is beyond parallel. Yes, having an attitude of gratitude is the best way to live. Yes, it is always valuable to find the silver lining. Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth. Good comes from literally everything. Acceptance is key to living happily. We must remember a few things though.
Acceptance is not to be confused with tolerance, optimism is not to be confused with denial and we cannot confuse supporting others with attempts to control their emotional state.
We cannot use our positive mindsets to negate the beauty and purpose of human emotion, nor do we have the right to invalidate the emotions of others.
People do not need us to change the way they feel.
That is their job. Sometimes, by trying to change the way they feel, even when meaning well, we do more harm than good. These feelings are part of their healing. Causing another person to discount their own feelings is detrimental to their mental and emotional health. Be careful.
Written By Holly Kellums
Originally published on Medium.com