Imagine for one minute you are a small business owner, the self employed, or furloughed and you have been 6 weeks without income. You have a mortgage, a car payment, utilities, and most of all a family that needs food. Yes food. You lie awake at night terrified that you will not survive this crisis with your home, your business, job, or any semblance of your former life. You pray tomorrow will be the day you actually reach a government employee that might be able to finally guarantee some financial relief. All your hard work and effort in your business may just have been in vain. Your network of people agree with you, for they are in similar situations. The news stories they share and discuss, support you in your desperate desire to go back to work or reopen your business. When someone calls you selfish, you feel unseen, hurt and it sometimes results in anger. But underneath is utter fear, enormous pain and helplessness.
Now imagine you are a frontline healthcare worker. You witness suffering and death every shift. People dying without the comfort of loved ones, alone. You attend emergency contingency meetings everyday. Discussions are had about triage, and current available vents, and when the level of COVID cases will exceed the number of beds, staff and resources. You await with dread, the inevitable, when hard choices will have to be made, and you will watch people unnecessarily die. You are mentally and physically exhausted. You lack the PPE to protect yourself, live with the fear of becoming sick, or infecting the people you love most in this world. Your friends and colleagues agree with you, it sounds implausible to reopen the face to face economy in any way right now. When people discuss the need for business and life to return to normal you disagree. Someone tells you that because you have a paycheck, you are blind to their struggle. You feel unseen, hurt and it sometimes results in anger. But really underneath it is utter fear, enormous pain and helplessness.
In both cases a basic human need is screaming to be met. Our very physical survival is at risk in unprecedented ways. Mentally we are tapped. But to compound the issue, we are often not attempting to understand each other, and the division is adding pain on top of our already traumatized collective souls.
Our perceptions and feelings are based on our unique histories, our needs, and the ever growing smaller worlds we LIVE in daily. It is normal for us to seek information and ideas that agree with our already held beliefs, but that does not make it helpful. PLEASE don’t condemn another’s plight without first trying to understand it. We are all suffering.
Please. Be curious, ask questions from a genuine desire to connect.
Offer assistance. Buy a nurse lunch from a local business.
It will not just lighten the load of their heavy heart….. but to yours just as equally.
Be kind. Be well.