Compassion and forgiveness
Last weekend we had a not so nice weekend. We received a text with certain accusations. After we replied we were subsequently abused. Accusations and abuse were totally unfounded. But no matter what we would reply, the other party always wanted to have the last word.
My initial response to these unfounded accusations and verbal abuse was anger and frustration. Especially as the other party is known not to listen to whatever we would say. I was sucked into a text to and fro, which had absolutely no resolution. Apart from, I hope, the other party feeling like they won and achieved something.
During our current COVID-19 crisis, we will see the best and the worst in people come out. We will also see the best and the worst of ourselves. Due to the fear and anxiety people are experiencing, emotions are running high and we respond to certain situations differently than we normally would. We are completely stuck in our fight and flight (sympathetic) nervous system, and we react a lot of the time with negative emotions such as anger, frustration, nastiness and negativity. Some people like bringing others down and giving them grief, so that it makes them feel better. There is no excuse for that, but we can only have understanding and compassion. It took me a good 3 days to find the understanding and compassion. 3 days of lost sleep, anxiety and stress on top of the usual COVID-19 anxiety and stress. No meditation, exercise or activity was able to alleviate those feelings.
This morning (after a reasonable sleep) I felt forgiveness and compassion for someone who is likely going through his own stuff at the moment, and is so caught up in it that he cannot see outside of that. His coping mechanism is kicking others whilst they are down to make himself feel better. So I really hope our exchange helped him and he funnelled some of that anxiety out. I now have to forgive him and let that interaction go completely, as any further stress or anxiety about that on my behalf will only affect my health… Writing this article is helping me with that process as well.
This isolation and virus anxiety is an enormous learning curve for all of us. We will discover a lot about ourselves and the people we share our lives with. The uncertainty of the future in a world tipped upside down is extremely unsettling. Some people are coping by putting their heads in the sand and believing it will just all go away if they don’t think about it. Some panic, others get angry and violent, and some look for who and how to help.
We are choosing to help others grow their own food and become more self reliant, as nobody knows how long this will last. And at the same time we will have to ensure to keep practising forgiveness for ourselves and others, and for any actions driven by fear and anxiety. The People Care ethic of permaculture in practice.