I do not know how you have been dealing with the COVID-19 situation. As for me, my mood has been ebbing and flowing, and it's probably safe to assume you have been experiencing similar ups and downs.
For the most part, I have felt positive. Things will work out. We'll be okay. And then, like clockwork, once I have fully come to peace with the situation, there is a new article with a new reason as to why I should scared. I've been wondering why this situation has been so unstable for my psyche. It occurred to me why this morning; Basically every problem I've ever had has been a personal problem, and COVID-19 is far from a personal problem.
The kind of problems I've faced are not trivial, not unimportant, but they have been different. For the most part, they have been problems solvable through perseverance, determination, and grit - personal responsibility. Whether relational, financial, physical, or mental, all of my problems have been the responsibility of me to fix, and me alone - personal problems. As I reflected on what makes me afraid about COVID-19, I narrowed it down to a couple of things.
The first fear is watching the news and hearing about how many of my neighbors are dying or suffering. I'm terrified of the images I may see on the news of people in hospital beds, or graphic verbal accounts of horrific hospital stories, knowing all of that is happening in my back yard.
The second thing I'm terrified of is the economic fallout of this country in the wake of COVID-19. I imagine riots in the street, politicians maliciously capitalizing on the chaos, and a deep dark economic depression that will characterize the better part of my 20's and 30's.
If they only saw things like I do, we would all be handling this better and things would be okay.
I've been scheming ways to contract the perfect word cocktail to inspire everybody to work together and take care of one another. Maybe, I thought, if I could just figure out how to explain the way I feel in just the right way, it will go viral and everyone will agree. Maybe my blog will land on the desktops of world leaders and inspire them to do things the way I think they need to be done. Maybe everyone will read what I have to say, and because of it, they'll stop panic buying, and fear mongering, and then none of these things I'm afraid of will materialize.
In times like this, where the actions and mood of the masses are the only factors that separate you from your fears, it's hard not to want to change and fix people to see things the way you do. There is only one way to find some peace: Fully accept people as they are. I can't change people. They are as they are and will do what they do like air is invisible, and the sun is hot.
The irony is being at peace with your cause, without the need to prove it worthy is the best way to be influential. Wanting to change how everyone is reacting, or mitigate their responses and behavior comes from a place of fear and uncertainty. Acceptance of people as they often are - cheaters, liars, thieves, and schemers, comes from a place of certainty and peace. Funny enough, as people pick up on this sort of spirit in you, they begin to think you're on to something, and listen to what you have to say. This kind of spirit is what leaders are made of.
Most of us want to fix things. We all have a well intended, but naive idea that we may have the one unique perspective that will set the world in order again. We don't. We can only lead by example. The best way to tackle this situation, which is oh so much bigger than any single one of us is to accept reality for what it is. It's a big problem, much bigger, and more out of our control than the personal problems we are accustomed to facing. If we can accept that, we can work towards peace. Otherwise, we'll spend our lives trying to treat the world's problem like a personal problem, and forever come up short trying to fix it.