A good friend and colleague was telling me about some of the nastiness that she has been exposed to on social media during a time when many of us are finding more love and appreciation for those who have been traditionally overlooked or taken for granted. When she posted about it, she was met with stories from others who had experienced the same. I told her, “Oh yes, this is the time before the time of great conflict that is coming.”
As I am reading more online now than I ever did, I am seeing the stories. The stories of people working in grocery stores and in public transportation and even some medical personnel being yelled at, harassed and unappreciated. Some of us are finding ourselves short tempered with our children, significant others and those we are sheltered in with.
At a time like this when we really don’t know what is next even with all of our hopes and plans, so many of us think that kindness is what is called for and what is coming next in abundance. But the truth is that what is being stirred in us both above and beneath the surface is fear and fear’s greatest feature is creating conflict.
This pandemic, and all that it has brought with it is stirring up all of our fears and add to that the fact that we live in such a fear-based society, we can be easily influenced by thoughts and actions that are unconsciously motivated by fear. Although many of us would acknowledge our basic fears and most likely view them as normal, few of us understand that fear is often the catalyst for making us literally lose our minds. We often attribute a blow up or an “amygdala hijack” to emotions like anger, fury, rage or frustration, but seldom see that what lies beneath is FEAR.
Right about now you’re saying, “Well of course we’re afraid, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. How many times do you get to say that in your lifetime?” It’s true. This is a situation like one we have never experienced and to have fear is only logical, but to know how fear expresses itself is the way out of fear, if you want it. I say that because right now some of us have sheltered ourselves in fear and are not searching for the exit sign, so fear is left to roam free both openly and in many disguises. Hyper-sensitivity, anger, loneliness, pride, patriotism, spiritualism, hurt and love are some of the many disguises.
These disguises exhibit themselves in everything from reading something on social media and suddenly being convinced that they are talking about you, to snapping at your child for doing something that children do but it scares you so you have to make them stop. It shows itself in the protests we see against government decisions to attempt to keep everyone safe, and the never-ending platitudes given to everyone who finds this situation frightening. Oh yes, I am a God person and I still know there is reason to feel all the feelings during this time, without being made to feel less “spiritual” about it.
Some of this is coming from a good place but what happens when it gets fueled by fear and impacts someone differently from the intent? Or what happens if you are unaware that it is actually not coming from the best place, but rather it is fear running roughshod over those you love and care about or those you still don’t know very well?
You get the laying of the foundation for the Time of Great Conflict that is coming when we all will need to have a better understanding of the ways in which fear is influencing and shaping us. Right now is a time to be aware and prepare.
Awareness starts with checking out how fear is disguising itself in your life. I have started to become acutely aware of it and how I can sneak it in as love, “oh no you don’t want to do that, my idea is better for you.” I’m really good at that. But what that does is it keeps others from being heard and understood. It keeps everyone subject to the fears that are working within me.
Yes, this is a time like we’ve never seen and we are all operating in some new ways. But it’s also a good time to examine and listen, listen, listen. It is a time for patience with ourselves and with others. Rather than judge and condemn, we can meet their fear with compassion and understanding even as we stand firm in our own beliefs and decisions. If we use this time well, when the great time of conflict comes, we will not only be expecting it, but we will be able to manage it well together.
We can do this!