One thing I have noticed people doing especially on social media is creating a lot of distance and disconnection by chronically referring to anyone that doesn’t believe as we do ‘stupid’. I have caught myself doing this too.
‘They’ are ‘stupid’ for not believing wearing masks is the answer. They are ‘stupid’ for wearing masks all the time. The are stupid for thinking a vaccine will help this. They are stupid for not wanting to get vaccinated. They are stupid for relying on the medical establishment or stupid for looking for alternative or natural treatments for this virus, etc.
There is an unbelievable amount of information out there in the universe of the world wide web, for good or for naught. Do we believe that only we have the ability to sort through it all and come up with ‘the truth’ or might it be possible that others could read what we read or different things and come up with another truth? Not everything is fake news and much medical information is not in agreement or changes based on one study vs. another.
The best thing I saw recently was a post by someone facetiously wondering why the ‘rules’ aren’t clear yet and then proceeding to point out all the ‘rules’ and then the ‘exceptions’ as also stated by trusted ‘authorities.’ It came down to ‘this is the right thing, unless it isn’t.’ That pretty much summed it up for me.
I haven’t been surprised at all the disagreement among health professionals and researchers as to prevention, treatment and public policy around this virus. That’s just the way it is, even when you are looking at the physical body. There are always medical professionals trying different and novel treatments. That’s how medical knowledge ends up on the cutting edge in addition to controlled research. There is plenty of evidence that research is influenced by who is paying for it so we must always be a bit skeptical and ‘follow the money’ as they say before we sink our teeth into believing just one thing or another.
I’m always amazed that people can learn something either by their own reading or study and then become completely closed to new information. It seems then that they believe no one else could possibly do the same thing and come to a different conclusion. This is not good for us or humanity or our connection to each other. It makes us so strident that we can’t even have a conversation without the word ‘stupid’ popping into our brain or out of our mouth.
I wonder what would happen to our fear level if we just stopped calling each other stupid and started saying, “May they be free from fear and be well.’
Where does calling someone ‘stupid’ get you? Why do you think you or others might do it? I suggest it is a way to manage fear. If you KNOW the right solution, you feel a sense of control and that falsely makes us less fearful. However, the next ‘new’ piece to the puzzle that is the ever-changing world of medical knowledge will convince you to fear something else that’s new and not in your control.
Giving up a sense of control when it gets out of control is the least stressful thing I can think of to do. Not creating disconnection between ourselves and our loved ones or fellow humans is the next best thing. We NEED each other and when push comes to shove, who was right about the latest moving target of truth is not going to matter because the next challenge is coming up right behind you and we will all need someone to hold us up.
I think of it as a tsunami wave. The wave of new information, new threats to us and the planet just keep coming. We don’t know how much water is behind the first rush and we will need to lift each other up to safety. If one guy tries to grab onto a tree branch instead of your outstretched hand, would calling him ‘stupid’ in the moment going to help you or him or humanity? He was just trying to survive the best he could in the moment. He may not have seen that debris coming up behind him but you wouldn’t have seen what he saw from his perspective either. That’s why he reached for the tree branch—it was because of something only he could see.
Do you believe that people have the ability and right to seek out information and draw conclusions about how to handle this crisis in the best way, the same as you do? Do you believe people generally want to do the best they can do, based on their knowledge and beliefs, and aren’t deliberately putting others in harm’s way? It may not look like it, but the reality is people are still doing the best they can based on their maturity level AND openness to new information. It may not be your reality or your version of maturity and that’s hard to take sometimes. It’s also true that fear does not help people respond from the best, most rational self (see my prior posts about managing the F.E.A.R.). Their fear can increase your fear, if you let it. That is up to you and your maturity level and willingness to not let fear control you. Calling people ‘stupid’ is a sure-fire way to increase your fear.
We will of course come to different conclusions. That is the way of it. I find I need to develop more radical acceptance for ‘the way it is’ these days because it is easy to get overwhelmed by fear. When I recognize that is what is going on, I stop, take a breath and now I am saying, “May they be free from fear. May I be free from fear. May they be well. May I be well.”
How would it change your experience if you adopted that or another approach instead of ‘they are so stupid’? You deserve to be more connected, not less, and less fearful, and so does everyone else, despite our differences.
The best way to get back into that space of without overwhelming fear is to PLAY. It frees our mind and body and allows creative thought, ease and compassion to arise. Try it today and see how much better you cope with whatever is going on in your world today.