Are you shaming yourself for how you’re reacting to COVID-19?

I’ve noticed something over the past week, as we all think and feel and navigate through living in this world of pandemic. 

I’ve noticed that some people naturally want to do. They want to act. They want to spring into action, either to help others or help themselves. Some of them have stuck to their normal routines, gotten dressed every day, kept up with their workout regimens or started new ones, never missed a beat with their business and serving their clients, or even started brand new businesses in record time. They seem to have either not been affected at all or so quickly pivoted their businesses and lives in order to be truly thriving right now. 

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that some people naturally want to be. They want to throttle down, sit in this, absorb, and not act. Some have chosen to venture into the depths of their addictions – food, drink, Netflix, what have you – while others have simply not engaged in their normal routines, their workout regimens. They’ve missed a beat or two and they haven’t quickly pivoted everything in order to “make things work.” 

And of course, there have also been people (like me) who’ve sat somewhere in the middle. I did not immediately spring into action, reacting to this pandemic. In fact, I slept most of the first day this all came raining down on us. Schools were shut down, everyone was told to not come into work, pandemonium happening everywhere, and I napped for a good four hours that day. And then somewhere around mid-week, I began to get inspired by the possibilities this pandemic is bringing to us all and my take-action muscle kicked into gear. I haven’t stuck to my routines perfectly. I did go for a run this week. I’ve most certainly over-eaten due to stress. And I’ve kept things afloat over here in the business without changing anything. 
As I’ve noticed these natural reactions to crisis, I’ve also noticed how the different Reaction Camps talk about one another. 

I’ve seen memes from the Being Camp asking the Doing Camp to stop encouraging others to act.  And I’ve seen diatribes from the Doing Camp encouraging the Being Camp to act. 

From my standpoint, the issue is not whether someone is choosing to DO or BE right now. 

The issue is that so many of us are choosing one or the other and then judging, and even shaming, people who have chosen something different. 

It’s really no wonder why I judged and shamed myself for napping for most of the day. The world is suffering right now and you just go to bed? What is wrong with you?

And then two days later I judged and shamed myself for feeling happy and inspired to keep working. The world is suffering right now and you’re happy and inspired? What is wrong with you?

It makes me think of that Carrie Underwood commercial where she admits that she feels guilty when she does work out because she’s showing up for her kids. And she feels guilty when she doesn’t work out, because she’s not showing up for herself. 

It shook me when I first heard her say that. Because, while I don’t have kids yet, I feel that. That damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don’t thing is real. 

I, and I alone, am responsible for the thoughts that run through my brain. 

And I also realize this judgmental, shame-ridden thought pattern, ready to attack the Just-Be part of me and just as ready to attack the Happy-and-Inspired-to-Act part of me, is not just a “me problem.” 

This dynamic is deeply ingrained in our society, as made obvious over the past few days to me. 

And I want nothing more than for it to stop. 

Because is it really helping anyone? Is it helpful to shame people who are going for it, pivoting, and putting their heart and soul into making things work? Is it helpful to shame people who are choosing to chill out, veg out, and just sit for a while? 

No. 

It’s not helpful within our society, to do that to others. And it’s certainly not helpful to do it to ourselves. 

So can we stop? 

Can we respond in a way that feels right to us AND appreciate, love, and accept how others respond in a way that feels right to them? 

I hope so.