You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I haven’t written in a while but today, on the drive home from the grocery store and after witnessing a few incidents this week, I decided I needed to get the thoughts out of my head and write.

The past 15 months have been difficult. Each person is experiencing the pandemic differently, but I would suggest that each person is finding it difficult in some, or more likely, many ways. What I am finding very disheartening is the divide that has been created. It seems to have become the norm to shame others when their opinion is different than our own. Without taking into consideration their reasoning, it has become black and white – right and wrong. We have no idea what others are going through, what their past experiences are and why they are making the decisions that they are. 

I don’t understand why she is so excited about getting the vaccine when I know it’s a terrible idea

I don’t know why he won’t get the vaccine when everything I have read says you should do it

We are all in this mess because you won’t wear a mask (yelling with finger pointed)

They must not know there is a stay-at-home order in place (condescending voice)

And here’s the thing, we don’t need to know why people are making the decisions that they are, in fact, that is their business and not ours. Can we try to give people the benefit of the doubt that they are making the best decision for themselves, their life, their family?

Everyone reading this would tell you without hesitation that bullying is bad and needs to be stopped.  But guess what, that is exactly what’s happening right now, every day, by nice people. I honestly don’t believe that the bullying and shaming is intentional. I don’t think people know how much they are hurting others when they do it. When you tell people that they need to get the vaccine, or not get the vaccine, or they need to stay home or they need to wear a mask without knowing anything about the person’s reasoning, you are bullying them.  I know that there is so much uncertainty and fear right now and we have been through so much, but this does not give anyone permission to shame. 

I am not writing this to start a debate, quite the opposite, I am writing to see if we can all look at ourselves and see if we are capable of being a little kinder to one another. This is happening on both “sides”. What your opinion is does not matter. How you treat people does. If instead of judging, we can stop and think – I don’t know what they are going through and I can only assume that they are making the best decision for their life – we will make a difference. Mental health issues are skyrocketing. Being treated unkindly by others is adding to this significantly.