Why is everyone so angry? Why are there 1,000 opinions on everything that’s been going on and each one is absolutely correct according to its author? Why is everyone an expert on public health and no one concerned about it? “Wear a mask, don’t be a follower, stay at home, open the country, conspiracy, establishment, one world government, safety at all costs” you’ve heard or said each of these in the past month.
But why are we so angry? Why are so many people so at odds with each other? Yes, there are pre-existing conditions that have inflamed this phenomena. The political divide is as wide as ever. The ways in which we look at this world are varied and very often polarized. However, that is not all that is going on. There is something that is happening and no one is really aware of it.
We are grieving. Grief is the loss of something. It is the loss of a loved one, a job, a marriage, even a sporting event. We are all grieving the same thing. Life before the virus. It is over. We are not going back to where we were before and the where we are now is very different.
I was listening to a podcast that talked about grief. David Kessler is a if not the leading expert on grief (check out grief.com). He was asked about the divorce rate being high for parents who have had a child die. He said that it is not the death of a child that causes divorce but rather the judgement of each other’s grieving. People grieve differently in all circumstances, even within themselves. Grief is a very unique and personal experience.
He went on to explain that judgement demands punishment. A court case judgement punishes one party or the other. When we prejudge someone they are punished by not getting to be who they are as an individual. When we judge ourselves by comparing ourselves to others’ successes we, in effect, punish ourselves. These couples judge how each other is grieving and it drives them apart.
So, today, we are all grieving the same thing…differently. We are all in this together, alone. Many people, as part of their grieving, are judging how others are grieving. The judgement brings punishment. We punish on social media, we punish with snide comments, we punish by cutting off ties with people who don’t agree with us, we punish by disconnecting with loved ones who don’t have the same thoughts on this that we do.
You see someone out there shopping and can’t imagine what they need that is worth putting others at risk. You don’t know that they have an abusive spouse at home. You don’t understand why someone keeps railing against anyone that does anything possibly spreading this or any virus. You don’t know that they are immuno-suppressed and have a child who is very ill. You don’t know why that guy posts so much about the government but also don’t realize his business is about to go under and he’s going to have to lay off many people that represent many families. Just like everything else in every other time we all have stories and most often don’t know others’ stories. Unlike other times, we are now faced with a greater burden and experiencing much more pressure.
As it is with so much of the rest of our life in this cancel culture mob mentality world in which we live, today we need grace. We need to extend the benefit of the doubt to a world that is searching for meaning, understanding, and stability. We need to rise and be the bigger person and allow for people to have their own way of getting through this time. We need to avoid snap judgments, we need to stop shaming, we need to realize that we are all different and manage our emotions differently.
We need to be the person that is there for others and doesn’t snap judge them. We can be the people that help others “get it out.” We can’t and won’t be able to fix or change them. We can, however, perhaps help them through this a bit that might help them not feel so alone as the unknowingly grieve.
We are all in this together….just alone, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can reach out. We can be the comfort others seek. We can give others a safe place to be scared, mad, frustrated, and to grieve. We can…but will we?