With the world primarily put on hold and stuck at home, many people are flooding social media. If what you see online is a reflection of society as a whole, then there is a clear pattern emerging from what we are seeing. There are those who start games that involve participation and those who post things that are cute and humorous, but when we go beyond that, much of what we see posted is negative, and it doesn’t take a degree in psychology to know that the negativity isn’t helpful.
It is not difficult to understand why people lash out and play the blame game or reveal their fear and despair at a time like this. It would be unfair to criticize people who have been doing that, even if it was my place to do so, which it isn’t. But it is not only very obvious that it is happening, it is also very obvious that it is increasing, and I think that even those partaking in it would likely agree that it is an unhealthy pattern. Bad situations create negative feelings and harsh reactions. Many people focus a lot on whose fault they think it is, and with so much extra time on their hands they seize the opportunity to make their point and to try and relay what they think is their unique perspective that got them to that conclusion. But even if some of the conclusions are correct, which would means the opposite conclusion is not, are the people doing this helping anyone? Are they creating unity and camaraderie when it’s needed most? And maybe even more significantly, are they themselves coming out of it better? I think we all know the answer to that question.
To those posting fear and despair, it’s important to look at it through different lens than the one we use on the finger pointers and armchair quarterbacks. Those who are sad and scared, often terrified, are not only an indicator of how bad things have gotten very quickly, they are also provide an opportunity to those who are coping better emotionally and mentally. The opportunity I speak of is the opportunity to help, to make a positive difference. This has been, and will be a horrific time specifically for people who have lost or will lose loved ones. People will grieve. They will mourn. But some will also be turning to people for help. If you have time to post about the politician, political party or even the country you blame for the situation we find ourselves in, then you certainly have time to help someone who may desperately need it. And if not, you might start by helping with everyone’s collective mental health by showing honor to the lost, comfort to the struggling, or inspiration and even humor to the general public.
If you’re doing OK, pay it forward. And if you aren’t sure you’re OK then try to show kindness anyway. There is a reasonable chance it well help you feel better. No one is an island, especially not now. Finding a way to help starts with words of comfort and encouragement, words that often do as much for the person saying them as they do for those for whom they are intended. Why not give it a try? It will be better for everyone.
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IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL