What We Need to Get Through This

When I was in my 20s, my fiancé died in a plane crash a few days before marriage. Not long after that, my son died of an undiagnosed, inoperable heart condition. Before these two events, when I called my dad to wish “happy Father’s Day,” I learned my healthy father had died from an unexpected heart attack.

As you might expect, these triple tragedies left me reeling.

The information above is true, but not the next part of this story.

Imagine that I’m your new coworker and you’ve come into my office and asked me for some information you need.

I respond, “I’ll get it to you.”

That’s not good enough for you, so you press me. You raise your voice and say, “I need it now!”

I’m doing my level best to hold it together, but my nerves are frayed. I’ve had enough and I take it out on you. I shriek, “Look, witch, get out of my office!” Hallway passersby hear me and wonder what you’ve done to elicit that reaction.

I realize I need to apologize to you and do so that next day.

You say, “it’s fine.”

As you might suspect, it’s never fine, not after I screamed at you and embarrassed you in front of passersbys.

Despite my triple tragedy, I didn’t shriek or cuss at those I worked with or for. I was also lucky enough that those I worked with knew my story.

But what if they hadn’t?

Would they have cut me slack? Been understanding?

Here’s my point: Many individuals we interact with are hanging on their fingernails. They’re worried about finances. About the Delta variant. About those who won’t vaccinate themselves. If they feel reluctant about the vaccine, about those who treat them as if they’re irrational.

I just watched reality theatre, only it happened in the Anchorage Assembly over mask mandates. People shouting at each. Not listening. Not trying to find common ground.

The common enemy is the virus. But we may need to heal ourselves first.

If you liked this post, I’d love you to add your thoughts. You also might like “Polarization,” https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/02/6-steps-for-healing-our-polarized-divided-country/ and “Racism,” https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/02/racism-in-the-workplace/.

5 thoughts on “What We Need to Get Through This

  1. A woman in a parking lot yelled at me because I was wearing a mask. I said, “I didn’t tell you to wear a mask.” I also suggested that kindness would help her feel better.

    Her responses included:

    “Since you’re wearing a mask the government will think it can tell me to wear a mask.”

    “What about kindness towards me?”

    “I’ve never been sick in my life.”

    In that woman’s mind, nothing about my life mattered. She was the center of the universe. She didn’t realize that being the center of the universe was making her very unhappy.

    As an outsider from her universe, I practice kindness.

  2. I’ve been watching. I am grateful for the patience and grace chair Suzanne has displayed, with a bit of her “mom voice” at times to guide everyone forward. I appreciate Chris’s support of the chair and he helpful advice through the process. The rest is distressing.

  3. I think you showed amazing strength and patience not to snap at her. You are definitely the example here.

  4. Thanks for your comments dramatizing and making real the internal stress and conflict that many may be carrying and trying not to go on about in public, and who don’t need to be yelled at by some self-important coworker who wants something NOW!. We need to pause and find the correct but firm way to ask for something we really need and be more quiet about something that we want but it isn’t an emergency.

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