We're all dealing with the same crisis right now. A huge portion of the population is suddenly jobless, savings-less, and completely thrown into working from home or worse, homeschooling. There's a collective weight on everybody's shoulders right now. Yet, we've found ourselves divided over and over again by the one simple thing we're supposed to be doing right now:
It's pretty easy to hop onto social media and approximately 20 seconds in, find a post that advocating for Staying Home (even sassier, Staying the FUCK Home). And despite all of these witty graphics that advocate for the state of many states right now, there's an equal number of complaining/strongly worded posts telling people why they NEED to stay home, and hinting that people who aren't doing so are jerks or unsafe or any other number of names (and sometimes expletives).
And I know the feeling well. I've wanted to scream at people to just stay home. That not staying home is going to make this last longer. I've had those feelings.
But it's important to remember this one thing: every time somebody is a jerk, their actions are only grounded in fear.
One more time: every time somebody is a jerk, remember their actions are founded in fear.
And I dare you to find me a case where this isn't true. Toilet paper stockpiling? Grounded in fear. Yelling at people online to stay home? Grounded in fear. Being rude to old people who just need a half gallon of milk? Fear. Okay, that one might also be an actual personality flaw, but it's likely grounded in fear.
The trauma of what everybody is going through is creating a collective fear, and not everybody knows how to cope with it. So people are doing some of the only things they know how - excessive buying, emotional guarding, every human for themselves. And while it's not a pretty look on everybody, the key thing to remember is that nothing right now is meant to be personal, and that you can't control the actions of everybody around you.
But you can control yours.
So the next time you see somebody being a jerk online, consider asking what they need or how they're doing. Or if you see a random act of jerk outside, follow up with kindness to the next person you see.
And remember: you can't stop people from leaving their houses, so don't waste your breath. But you can spread more kindness and love into the world than you could possibly imagine. And maybe just one thing at a time, we'll start to heal all the fear.
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