Let’s be Kind
Fauci, Tupperware and Your Time to Shine
We are all thinking about Coronavirus and its implications. Today’s live video is influenced by that as well. Last week, my live video was about managing your Coronavirus anxiety. This week, I want to talk about how we are treating each other.
To be sure, these are unprecedented times and many of us are dealing with challenges that we have never before experienced. There are so many things that feel out of our control, but even so, there are some things that we can control. We can control much of what we put into our minds. We can choose how much news and social media we consume. We can control how long to hold on to an anxious thought. Those are some ways I mentioned last week in which we can take care of ourselves.
We have a lot of control over the things we take in. And we have a lot of control over what we put out. That’s what I want to focus on today.
Anthony Fauci, MD
So, like everyone else, I’ve been watching a lot of press briefings over the past couple of weeks. And the one person I just can’t stop watching is Dr. Anthony Fauci. He’s director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He’s that little old guy you see, telling us to wash our hands. I am mesmerized. And here’s why. This guy just keeps focusing on facts and moving forward. He is delivering difficult messages, yet he gets his point across calmly and directly. And, I have never once heard him throw anyone under the bus.
In 2004, his wife said this about him, “He can take complicated issues and make them understandable to most anybody. He does it … in a clear and respectful way, and also with a lot of enthusiasm … He can do that for members of Congress, he can do it for the fourth-grade science class, and he does both. That’s perhaps his most enduring gift to society.” How cool is that? This is a guy who has spent decades in public service, fighting infectious diseases on a large-scale and she feels like his communication skills may be his most enduring gift.
I feel like we could all take a page from his book. We could all start practicing now, right in our homes, with the people closest to us. We can practice staying focused on moving forward and practice not throwing each other under busses.
No doubt, it’s a tough time. Many of us are home much more than ever before. We are stressed. We are spending more time, in close quarters, with our families, with our partners. And we are getting on each other’s nerves! All of our little quirks and our partner’s little quirks may seem a whole lot bigger right about now.
We all have these pesky, mostly unconscious, reactions to stress. When I was in graduate school, my professor explained it something like this. “It’s like each of us has a Tupperware container that holds are anxiety. It really doesn’t matter exactly how big the container is or how much anxiety we have, just so long as all the anxiety we have, fits in that container.” When our container pops, this is when our unconscious reactions come out. Some of us get sad, some try to stay busy, some get stupid; we can’t focus or retain things. Some of us lose our tempers, some become distant. These are tough times. Our containers will pop from time to time.
When they do, (both our containers and our partner’s) be mindful. Be kind. Focus on moving forward. Don’t throw your partner under the bus.
At some point, this crisis will end. There will be recovery. There will be normalcy. But we will remember how we were treated. We will remember how people made us feel. You will make mistakes, of course, but be mindful. Figure out how you can do it better the next time. You don’t have to beat yourself up, but don’t just give yourself a pass because you were stressed-out. Our words and actions now matter. How we treat each other now, matters. This is your time to shine!