I recall the first time that I had the corona virus. I was one of the first people in my area to get it. I was on the news, I made YouTube videos and helped bring a little calm to a world gripped in fear. What I wasn’t prepared for, or I guess didn’t expect was the stigma that I received from some people. When I returned to work, after the designated period of time, people would go out of their way to avoid me. Even though at that point, I was the safest person to be around. I had natural immunity.
Throw in the fact that I have seasonal allergies and you can only imagine the fear that brought out. Every sneeze sent people running in all directions. It wasn’t just me. Anywhere in public, when people coughed they were glared at or moved away from. There are lots of reasons that one can have a tickle in their throat. Here in the colder part of the world, dry air from heat can make you cough. As mentioned before, allergies could do the same thing. You could simply have a cough. Still, none of that will ever be the same for some.
This got me thinking. What we focus on really dictates our state of being. After the pandemic, everyone is acutely aware of every cough, sniffle or sneeze. For many, this is a legitimate concern. Especially if they, or those they are close to, have health concerns. When it comes to focus, we often let outside circumstances dictate what we focus on. This can be one of the most costly mistakes we make on a daily basis. Those sources we come in contact with, do not always have our best interest at heart. Rarely do they. Their interest in the bottom line. What drives sales and increases the bottom line? Fear. The news, Social media, coworkers, even our well-meaning friends and family can share how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. That is what we are sold. We are told how the economy is out of control. every time the price of gas goes up, we say to ourselves, “Yep, there is proof that things are getting more expensive.” What to we tell ourselves when gas goes down? That it will go up again? That is still more expensive than it was 2 years ago?
How about the attempt to divide us against one another? We are told that all of the evils of the world are the fault and responsibility of one group. We are told that we must vote a certain way or communities, countries and even the world will fall apart. Think again of the pandemic. How did it spread? Did a certain group get it all at once? No. It spread one person at a time. Day in and day out. Soon, it was an out of control spread. Soon, we were sensitive to every cough and sniffle.
What if we were able to apply that same sensitivity to words of encouragement? Acts of kindness? Opportunities to serve? What if we chose to spread a pandemic of kindness one person at a time? What if we did that day after day? We can see how it works in a biological virus. What we may not see if the ideological virus that is being spread the same way. One person at a time is convinced that the sky is falling. One person at a time is convinced that it is us against them. Before we know it, we have a pandemic of hate and divisiveness. Instead of droplets of saliva or mucus, it is spread through news stories and social media posts. We can’t protect ourselves from the fear and hate with a medical mask, but we can with masks of kindness, compassion and gratitude.
The virus taught me that the world can be made hyper-aware of many things. What happened if we decided, as a global community, to place that focus on the things that make the world a better place. I am not advocating becoming ignorant of the struggles we all face, but to question what we invest our focus, our energy and our time on. Tony Robbins once said, “What is wrong is always available, but so is what is right.”
Today, let us take the lessons we have learned from the pandemic, and apply them to create a pandemic of our own choosing. One of love, inclusion and working together. Let us grow the symptoms of kindness, compassion and mutual respect. As businesses begin to reopen, let us do the same with our hearts. Do not catch the ideological virus that many in power are trying to spread. Just like the Covid-19 virus changed the world one person at a time, we can do the same.