One of my favorite modern philosophers and authors, Gary Zukav, speaks about how there are only two main emotions: LOVE and FEAR. All other emotions stem from these two, he suggests. Globally and societally, we've been through a great deal since the onset of COVID-19. Culturally, we've gone through different phases. And personally, we've oscillated from feelings of fear, anger, depression, sadness and fatigue. One of the great challenges of our time is to stay in a state of LOVE. How to handle COVID has brought about highly polarizing views. This has created very distinct camps, each one claiming the other is ignorant and ill-informed. One of the great tragedies of the pandemic is, as a result of these different views, important relationships are falling apart.
Families are feuding.
Coworkers are holding grudges.
Neighbors are distancing themselves.
Many people are just plain not associating with others who don't share their views, a dangerous behavior to live by.
Failing relationships can be just as damaging physical illness. How do we choose LOVE in such divided times? Author Adam Grant asserts: "Differences of opinion don't have to be threats. They can be opportunities to learn. Intellectual friction isn't a relationship bug. It's a feature of education." If someone you love has a starkly differing opinion than you do, the first step is to remember your shared humanity. Instead of forcing your unsolicited views via lectures, sharing of articles or websites, etc., remember this person is someone you care about. Likely, they've thought about their views just as you have. Get curious, ask them WHY they feel the way they do instead of jumping to assumption, judgement, and labels, which are proliferations of FEAR. This is our first pandemic. We are each doing our best to make decisions for ourselves, and our families based on the data we ingest and believe viable. Take it easy on yourselves and others. We've sacrificed enough, let us not make our critical relationships another casualty of COVID.
May we all share more LOVE in a time when our world most desperately needs it.