When I was first notified that I had tested positive for Covid-19 and subsequently advised people, one of the reactions i received was along the lines of “Oh right, you probably caught in when……..” Frankly, this felt judgemental and was not helpful, particularly as I went downhill and became more and more ill. Believe me, I felt guilty anyway which fuelled my fear. I accept that the person concerned did not intend to cause me further worry and was likely trying to help, whilst unconsciously trying to resolve their understandable fear. Frankly, there is no possible way to prove how I caught the virus. I believe that I took all reasonable precautions. Part of that was listening to advice of experts and forming my own personal risk assessment. I also believe that we all set our own personal risk assessments based upon our own experience and beliefs. To be fair and within reason, I feel it is our right to do so. There is a challenge for us to accept that other have different opinions. My hope is that we make decisions that are fully considered and informed. We can’t make others change their mind. To do so uses up unnecessary energy and could also be seen as oppression or even abuse.
We have all heard incidents of conflict and argument when someone is allegedly observed to not comply with the general advice given. Typical of this is people appearing to not respect social distancing, not wearing a face covering when required etc etc etc… Often, the national media pick up on these issues and sensationalise them, simply to sell newspapers, potentially feeding fear, anxiety and conflict.
Personally, I have witnessed people sound off (particularly on social media) about their disgust at the behaviour of others. It potentially creates an intimidating atmosphere of “grass on your neighbour” oppressive state that can infringe upon the freedoms of what I hope is still a element of democracy we still have. Perhaps, a way of addressing a concern when we witness somebody, for instance, not wearing a mask and we are not in the position to police this (i.e. not the proprietor of a shop) could be as follows. Politely
“Excuse me. I noticed that you are not wearing a face covering. I wonder if you have forgotten or whether you have a specific exemption. I hope you are not offended by my question; it is just it makes me feel uncomfortable and I want to resolve this for my peace of mind. ”
Some might see this as a somewhat flaky approach. If so, then that is ok with me. I accept your opinion. What would help is that this opinion is qualified by some evidence. It helps to be able to accept it, even if I don’t agree.
Conflict caused by some of the circumstances I have described above can cause so much unnecessary stress and heartache. It can also feed fear and uncertainty causing rash decisions.
In times of global crisis such as we are currently experiencing, I feel we need to care for and support each other, not get into fights and arguments resulting in potential insults and personal attacks. There will always be people that have conflicting and challenging opinions to our own. That is simply a fact of life. A clear challenge for us all is to accept and take our own actions of personal protection physically, emotionally and spiritually.
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