Our Culture of Fear Concerns Me
The corona virus makes me nervous, but it’s our current culture of fear that is really bothering me. This past weekend I went to the grocery store and the feeling of fear was permeating throughout the store. Yes, people were practicing social distancing and that was good, but there was no warmth. Instead of being friendly and kind while distancing– the feeling was fear and a very low energy vibe. There were no smiles, no saying hello – it was all avoidance. A cart coming towards someone meant fear in their eyes and trying to get away as quickly as possible. I actually had a woman crash her cart into the shelves trying to move further away. Fear. Fear of the virus has turned into fear of each other and I don’t like it.
I can honestly say that I enjoy people and every day interactions. I like random sprinkling of kindness and warmth. Today’s fear is killing the in-person warmth of society. Yes, there are tons of random acts of kindness and in some ways we’re becoming better people. I see great stories of neighbors checking on neighbors and lots of Zoom calls with friends and family. I see us seeking how we can help one another through food donations or giving blood. I see all the good and I love it. I also see a culture of fear that I don’t like and am more afraid of than the virus.
Fear is an emotion that can be good, because it’s also protective. A little bit of fear can be just that – protective & positive. Fear will make you say, hmmm – I’m not a good skier and should not go down the double black diamond. The prickling of fear walking down a dark road is good for keeping your senses alive and maybe even you. Fear can be a good barometer and protect us. I think the flipside of fear is that it can also cause over active minds and induce anxiety. Right now I see our fear growing, as well as our anxiety and depression. I’ve noticed even when walking socially responsible by someone the fear has led to lack of eye contact and hellos. It feels as if we are afraid of each other. Is that person a carrier? Who have they been in contact with? Why don’t they have a mask on?
For me, I’ve had to recognize what breeds my fear and squash it. Watching the news on my weekends and their 24/7 ‘breaking’ news coverage of the virus = anxiety for me. In my business I already check the news and watch the press conferences so that I can keep our audiences informed. I am constantly checking and most days I’m okay. Weekends though are when I need a break. I will watch a press conference or read anything that truly is breaking, but I won’t just sit and watch the ‘Corona Virus Coverage”. That is my line. I need to get outdoors, feel sunshine and enjoy a friendly wave from a neighbor. My hope is that we can move past our fear of one another and embrace the parts of us that seek connection. We are all in this together, but that doesn’t mean we all fear one another. We will get through this and hopefully be better people. My personal hope is that we can let go of the fear and embrace warmth again. Xoxo