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Be Kind, Especially During a Pandemic

This is my public service announcement about kindness during COVID. Also known as ‘don’t be a dick’.

As I write this, we are 9 months into COVID-19. We’ve been isolated and distanced, and now we’re amping up to distance and isolate some more. The rules are constantly changing – and they are new, and nothing like what they were pre-March 2020. And yes, it sucks. And when things suck, it can make us all a little grumpy. 

Please remember, no matter where you are, no matter who you are – we are in this together.

If someone forgets to sanitize their hands when entering a store or enters without donning their mask – a kind reminder is all it takes. And if they can’t don a mask due to medical reasons – please listen with understanding, not judgment or resentment. Seek first to understand. 

When we react with anger, it’s like we take the behaviour of others and stab ourselves with it. Then we project our hurt onto them and view them as the villain. No one here is the villain. There is no us against them. We are all in this together. Every single one of us.

So please, if you are feeling grumpy, take a moment to care for yourself. If you find you’re feeling angry or impatient when around others, try these super simple tips:

  • Breath: full and deep. Feel your stomach expand on your inhale, and feel the air on your nostrils as you exhale
  • Notice: what do you and the person have in common. (Trust me, there will be something)
  • Take care: what do you need? Honour your boundaries and step back to create some distance. But as you create that distance, know that it’s about a virus, and not about distancing from another human being. 
  • Honour fear: if you are scared, protect yourself. Wear your mask, and use a mantra: I am safe and I am doing what I can to make a difference.

Every single one of us can make a difference in this world. So be kind. What we’re all going through right now is going to pass. But we need social connection forever. Make yours meaning. Find the common ground and anchor into it. You’ve got this. 

Affect Regulation · Mindfulness

Shift out of Shame

Shame creates a lack of worth within us. It seeps into our body and our emotions, creating a psychological barrier through fear and disapproval and rejection – so why on earth are we using it against ourselves?

If you have been shaming yourself as a means to push towards a change you want, I hereby challenge you to try a different approach. Shame creates a shutting down response in the brain – and I want to keep your brain on-line, and help you achieve your desired change with compassion and energy and determination. There will be no shutting down here friends!

Where ever your inner voice of shame originated from, when you hear it rear its ugly head, acknowledge it for what it is (“Oh, hello there Shame”), and anchor into the present moment with a deep breath. What could you say to yourself instead, to start cultivating an attitude of acceptance and compassion? 

Not sure how to cultivate an attitude of acceptance? Check out the following list and do one item from it every single day. Or, if you have a strategy that works for you, share it in the comments so that we can all learn from and encourage each other!

  • Smile at yourself
  • Laugh at your mistakes
  • Acknowledge the efforts you make, no matter how small
  • Practice not taking things personally (Need help with this one? Check out The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Acknowledge that you aren’t, won’t, and don’t ever need to be perfect. Go on, exhale perfectionism and inhale “I am enough
  • Practice interrupting negative self-talk (try “There I go again…” and then anchor back into the present moment)
  • Move your body if you start to feel stuck in negative thoughts

You can not shame yourself into change – shame will serve only to deflate your energy and dampen your self-esteem. So what is the smallest thing you can do today to be more self-accepting?