As the saying goes, when people show you who they really are, believe them, right?
I was reading this article about how 700 epidemiologists are living now. I won’t get in to the specifics of how these experts are living their lives compared to some of the rest of us, but there was one answer to a question that shook me a little bit, because I definitely feel like this is something I will be taking away from 2020:
“My relationships with people who have taken this pandemic lightly and ignored public health messages and recommendations.”
Victoria Holt, professor emeritus, University of Washington
Now, as many of you know, I’m not big on politics, and never really have been. I am pretty accepting of most political views, and don’t really find that many extreme political views, one way or the other, are useful at all. This year though, this one has gotten to me. There are definitely some folks who I’m not really going to go out of my way to stay in touch with, and really it’s not the politics of the pandemic as much as it’s the fact that these views exposed something else that makes it obvious that these may not be great friends.
It’s because extreme views around COVID-19 are often expressed with so much selfishness. It’s all about what the mandates mean to “me”, what “my” risk is, or isn’t, what “my” experience has been, etc. In order to hang on to this idea that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that we shouldn’t be taking all of these precautions, some have had to ignore and dismiss the real pain of a lot of other people. Others, have been to easy to dismiss the real pain of people without jobs, or unable to simply hop online to connect the way many of us have this year. That’s not what I want in my life going forward. So, yeah, there are some friendships that I’m going to mourn, because as it turns out, I’ve had some selfish people in my life, and it’s time to move on from that, and spend more time and effort on relationships with people who can give and receive the love and care that are the foundations of a good friend.
I’m glad that I have plenty of folks who showed me who they were in 2019, by being there when our family suffered so much loss, and have continued to do so in 2020. I’m grateful to have those folks in my life who take the time to think about us, to care about how we are doing, and who genuinely miss seeing us. We all need more of that, and less of people who’s political beliefs keep them so self-focused that they are unable to sit with people in pain.