Being Gentle with Ourselves When the World is Being Harsh
It was such a relief back in June when the numbers of people sick from COVID were winding down and the promise of a degree of safety, thanks to the vaccine, was rising up. We had (and have) a rational political administration and summer was approaching. But now, due to the Delta and other variants, and due to the fear and ignorance caused by the GOP and others spreading misinformation or disinformation about the vaccine as they earlier did about COVID-19 itself, it is difficult to know how safe we are or what is safe to do.
Thanks to the vaccine, I can consider visiting relatives and friends in other states, people I haven’t seen in person since the pandemic began. But in some sense, this adds more confusion. What variants might lie between here and there? Will I infect or be infected? I am vaccinated, but since I could still carry the virus, do I have to be tested first?
And I don’t know if what I am feeling is the psychological effect, the trauma of the pandemic combined with the trauma of four years of DT. Or, since what I feel is probably from a mixture of causes, I wonder what degree of what I’m feeling is simply fear. After hunkering down and making safety my primary concern for so long, it is difficult to take risks or step out.
But what I do know is the importance of being real to myself, and gentle when the world is being harsh. If I can find the patience and clarity to be gentle with myself, I can be gentler and clearer with others.
And I can take this moment as an opportunity to learn new things about myself. When I’m open to it, I discover new things about where and who I am. I feel even more at home with whatever and whomever I am with. So, when I do venture out, I am going from home to home.
And we can use our imagination and empathy to see and feel ourselves in the home with whomever we’d like to visit. One purpose of the imagination is to help us think. When I stopped what I was doing and imagined being in the living room of a friend or family member, talking, looking eye to eye, feeling what I felt for this person. I overcame the physical distance with imagination and the emotional distance disappeared. The situation was simplified a bit and I was able to think more directly and clearly.
Of course, the imagination can also be detrimental. We can get caught up in images of hurt and disaster, especially when we’re stressed. Another reason we have an imagination is to help protect us from harm….
*To read the whole piece, please go to The Good Men Project.