Before, before all of this started, I loved smiling at strangers. I loved to see how people’s mood would change from receiving a smile. I would love the smile in return. I would also love having small conversations with strangers. It is amazing some of the things I’ve learned from a 5 min conversation with a stranger. Anything from how to pick out better tasting mangos to resources or tips that have helped my small business. Every person you come into contact with has something to teach you, you just have to be open to learning it.
But now, these interactions have been missing from my life. Once every two weeks I go to the grocery store. No one can see my smile under my mask, and people are scared to talk to one another. This fear is real, but let’s not forget that under that mask, over there 6 feet away is not just another possible virus carrier, but another person, another person who is also afraid.
I have been guilty recently of traveling down the rabbit hole of fear. Reading and watching and being obsessed with all that is wrong. This is typically NOT how I live my life. I have made it a conscious habit to look for the solutions instead of the problems. But with our world being turned upside down I had lost sight of that, for a while.
I have seen people divided and shooting off angry comments on social media, de-friending one another. Statements along the lines of, you’re not who I thought you were because you have this view, and so on. But let’s take a step back and acknowledge that most people right now are simply afraid.
Some people are afraid of a virus, a virus that 6 months ago we knew nothing about, and we still have so much to learn. They are afraid of not surviving this virus, and /or their loved ones not surviving. Some people are afraid that they are not going to be able to pay their mortgage or buy food. They are afraid of our society completely collapsing and no food being available- they too are afraid that they or their loved ones won’t survive. BOTH fears are justifiable, and both fears need to be addressed, both sides are afraid of their survival.
I believe we don’t need more finger pointing of who’s right and who’s wrong. What we need is more compassion, compassion and understanding for everyone’s fear of survival, even if what they fear is different than yours.
I invite you to take the journey down finding solutions for each other, not just yourself, and find compassion for one another. I invite you to smile at one another, even if the other person cannot see it through your mask or from the distance- smile anyway. We’ve tried anger and it doesn’t seem to be working very well, so let’s give love and compassion a try, I have a feeling the result will be much better.
Please, stay happy, healthy, and compassionate.
Artist and Owner of Off Your Rocker Pottery