The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being in these complicated times. Please send your questions to [email protected]. Looking forward to hearing from you!
For all other inquiries, please direct your questions to [email protected].
I just can’t understand how so many people around me are buying into the lies of COVID. How do they not see what’s going on?? I walk around so much of the time feeling angry as I see people wearing masks (even outside!) and just blindly following along with what the government tells them. I feel like I’ve given up on them – I don’t even want to try to change anyone’s mind anymore. What do I do with all this anger? And is there hope for humanity?
I hear you, my friend. I have looked around and felt the same frustration at times! It’s really difficult when feel you can see a bigger picture than everyone else around you, and it can be easy to fall into despair, feeling like they’ll never change. And you’re not just frustrated and despairing – you are angry.
To begin, I want to leave other people, and humanity at large, out of it for the moment. I want to talk only with you. Walking around feeling angry all the time is no way to live, and it sounds like you don’t want to feel this way.
So, I want to ask you: What is it exactly about the choices of others that’s making you so angry? After all, it sounds like you are doing what’s right for you – you’re choosing not to wear a mask, not to just go along with what you’re being told to do. You’re living according to your values and beliefs…so why all the anger about how other people are choosing to live their lives?
I’m wondering if there’s something else underneath the anger. Anger can sometimes act as a cover for fear. Is there something about this experience of watching the people around you comply with all the COVID rules that is scary for you? What do their actions mean for you? If you are feeling afraid, I would venture to guess that that fear might ultimately be stemming from loneliness.
It can be hard to feel like you’re the only one who gets it…to feel you are standing alone on one side, and everyone else is on the other, even if you firmly believe that you are standing on solid ground. It’s great to feel in the right, but right can also feel lonely. And loneliness can lead to the fear that no one will ever come stand beside you, and that fear can lead to anger about the injustice of it all and blame towards other people for not seeing what you see.
So, what do you do with that anger? If I’m guessing right that at the core, maybe it’s really about loneliness for you, I would suggest making an extra effort to connect with others who feel the same as you. Even though you may feel like the “only one,” there are many people out there in the world who have their eyes open, like you. Connecting with them (even virtually, if it’s hard to find in-person connections) may help to ease that blameful anger and bring in some hope again.
One last thing – Once you are feeling more connected and hopeful, here’s something to think about: Consider getting angry again. Yes, that’s right! Feel free to get angry again. But this time, don’t let it be the anger of blame or fear. Let it be the kind of anger that is fired up by injustice and untruth, the kind of anger that can propel you to powerful action. We need people everywhere to speak up against this tyranny. We need your voice too.
So, “Is there hope for humanity?” I believe the answer is yes, as long as we choose to let our anger drive us forward to create a better world than the one we’ve been living in the past few years.
May you have hope and the kind of anger that can change the world!
Both my wife and I have not been fans of this vaccine. My wife is a nurse who once worked at Pfizer in Michigan and said from the start that vaccines aren’t developed overnight; it takes five to seven years, not months.
Forward to now: Her sister is sick with Parkinson’s, and we are needing to take her home to the Philippines which calls for the vaccine to travel. Now my wife is willing to take the sacrifice for her sister and I'm sick to my stomach thinking about it.
Wow, what a difficult situation. I hear the deep pain you’re in over your wife’s decision. She believes from her professional experience that something’s not right with this vaccine, and yet here she is considering taking it for her sister’s sake. You sound so worried for your wife.
I’d like to start my response to you by pointing out something that may be getting lost in the turmoil of the situation, and which will hopefully help to reframe it. Here it is: It seems to me that your wife must be an incredibly loving and brave woman. She believes that taking the vaccine is risky, and yet she’s willing to do it in order to see her ill sister safely home. Whether it’s right or wrong, whether you agree with her feelings about it or not, please know that you have an amazing wife. Not everyone would be willing to make a sacrifice like that, even for someone they love dearly.
I don’t know exactly what the conversation between the two of you has looked like up until now.
But I’m wondering how it would go if you were to try talking to your wife about it again, and this time, frame what you say to her in recognition of the greatness of her heart and intention. Put the conflicting opinions aside for a moment, and just focus on who she is. It could go something like this: “I want to tell you how much I value the person that you are. To want to do something like this for your sister – it’s so loving and courageous. You’re putting someone you love before yourself in such a big way, and that is an amazing thing. I just want you to know I see it, and that I love who you are…” or whatever words feel right to you.
Most likely, it will mean so much to your wife to receive this kind of acknowledgment and affirmation from you. Hopefully it will help diffuse tensions and bring a more positive and unified feel to the situation. From that new place of closeness, you might choose to continue the conversation along these lines: “Can we talk about this again? I’m really worried about you. Is it possible that there might be a different way to work this out? Let’s brainstorm some ideas together…” I wonder how focusing on solving the problem together might impact the conversation and outcome. Sometimes cooling down the feeling of conflict and choosing to be on the same team can open up new options and opportunities that neither person could see before.
Whatever happens, I wish you, your wife, and her sister complete health and safety, and the ability to stay close to each other in these complicated times!
Yesterday, I had the experience of going mask-less in a building where masks are technically “required.” I was there for an extended time and was one of maybe three people not wearing a mask. I felt such a mix of emotions about it. On the one hand, I was so proud of myself for staying strong, but also felt stressed and anxious about being so conspicuously different. I came out of there with a bit of a stomachache and general feeling of depression. When I’m just on my own at home, and I think about being someone who stands up against injustice, it fills me with idealism and courage. That’s how I want to feel when I’m doing it in practice too, but out in the world, it just feels kind of sad and anxiety-producing. Can you give me any insights into this?
The first thing I want to say is: Good for you. You stuck to your principles and did not put that mask on, even though it felt really uncomfortable. That takes a lot of courage, even if you didn’t feel courageous.
But I hear that you want to feel differently in these moments. You want to feel brave and inspired. You want to be able to grasp the magnitude of what you are doing when you publicly choose to not comply, and let it make you feel great about yourself. I have a few suggestions that I hope you’ll find helpful (and fun!).
First, I’ll share something I do when I’m about to head into a situation where I want to feel empowered, energetic, and strong: I put on one of my power songs. These are the songs that are deeply, personally meaningful to me; the ones that hit me in the core of who I am and make me feel like I can do anything. Sometimes I dance to the song, and sometimes I just sit and soak it in. Do you have power songs of your own? You can choose songs that have special messages that resonate with you, that call you to remember and embody that brave, idealistic, heroic person you are. Try it! It only takes three or four minutes, and it can completely change the way you feel. And then you can call that song up in your mind later if people start looking at you strangely for not wearing a mask, or anytime you start to feel that anxiety creeping in and fill yourself with its positive energy. That’s one way you can take that brave self you feel at home out into the world with you.
You can also try taking a bird’s eye view of the situation. What do I mean by this? When you’re in a moment where you are choosing not to follow what the rest of the crowd is doing, do a little visualization. Imagine you are a bird flying high above the scene that the real you is participating in. What do you see? Who is that person standing out so boldly from the rest of the crowd? What kind of person does she have to be to be able to do that? What are all the ways she’s being so strong in her life right now?
Just doing this little visualization to “rise above” the situation you’re in on the ground can change the feeling of what’s going on for you. It can give you new perspectives on how you are being in the world, which can infuse you with new inspiration and courage to keep going.
One more suggestion: Try writing a little story in which you are the heroine. Depict yourself with all the awesome characteristics you want to have in life right now: strength, bravery, steadfastness, leadership…whatever is the best version of you. Write about all the amazing things you do with those amazing traits. Feel free to illustrate it if you want! Revisit it whenever you need to remember who you really are, and let it continue to inspire you when you’re out in the world doing your thing.
I hope these suggestions help you see that you have the power to decide how to see yourself and what you’re doing. You’re already choosing to swim against the stream – now you can choose to celebrate and feel great about yourself while you’re doing it! All the best!
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- Advice column premier: Back to Center
Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to [email protected]
Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.
You are invited to book a complimentary coaching call with Sarah! Please visit https://calendly.com/sarahperroncoaching/45min to choose a time that's convenient for you. She looks forward to meeting you!