The old saying – attributed to Benjamin Franklin – is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
It could be modified, for our present situation, to “an ounce of kindness is worth a pound of reproach.”
While it’s valid to call out behaviour we perceive as foolish or reckless, we need to take a step back from irritation.
There is no doubt that, however even-keeled we like to appear, this pandemic has tested all of us. It’s been more than a year now since our hopes, dreams and aspirations – however modest or grandiose – were placed on indefinite hold.
A precious year has slipped past and in the midst of a third wave and worries about variants and distressing spikes in cases, we can all be forgiven for feeling that nothing significant has been accomplished.
COVID-19 has now touched the lives of all of us, sometimes tragically, and our attendant ‘COVID-fatigue’ is a very real thing.
Tempers are frayed, divisions are underlined and other people – who we thought we knew well – may be behaving in ways that seem illogical to us.
Although we still have freedom to communicate, share and create, much of the all-important, tangible connection to people is missing, and so we’re feeling emotionally fragile.
Our common reaction to stress is ‘fight or flight’ – which means that we’re all coping with anger and a desire to escape. Online hate and a myriad of virtual distractions are only symptoms of a larger problem.
This is when kindness, both to ourselves and others, is vital. At the best of times we may never fully appreciate the journey someone else is experiencing. And it may be hard to acknowledge that while we say we’re doing OK, we’re feeling far from it.
We need to take a deep breath or two, and cut everyone a little slack. That is ultimately the way we’ll get through this – together.