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Grit and Grace

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

March 21, 2020 by Kathy Scott, PhD and Bridget Sarikas

We are fascinated by the human behavior around us during this pandemic experience – including our own. It seems as if we swing from self-centered, self-preserving one minute, to thoughtful helper, concerned party the next. We are seeing and experiencing this in both our personal lives and our work lives. So, what’s it all about? And what should we do about it?

First let’s take a closer look.

Scarcity Mentality. A mindset and behaviors that come out of fear – fear of limited options now and in the future. I will eventually need more toilet paper so I’m going on the hunt now (because you can foresee a major blowout 24/7 for the next 3 months)! My future is financially ruined, I need to hoard my possessions (no you can’t borrow an egg – chickens have stopped laying them!). I’ve got to get out of these four walls or I’ll go nuts!!! I need more staff to take care of these patients. I’m willing to fight you for that last bottle of wine (well okay – maybe that one is worth fighting over). Hand sanitizer and tissue – WTF you selfish bastards!

Abundance Mentality. And then the next minute, we are seeing and/or experiencing an abundance mentality – believing there is enough and that we can overcome. Neighbors are waving and greeting each other warmly from a distance for the first time in years. People are reaching out to see if we need anything. Random acts of kindness such as retrieving items from grocery shelves for those of us who may be vertically challenged (we are often seen hanging on for dear life as we try to climb to the top). We have conversations with family more than the text speak we had become accustomed to. We’re playing more games together, visiting museums, watching Broadway plays/musicals – virtually of course. We are giving and receiving tips for how to cope with our new reality -- make bread from scratch (a stretch), even find alternatives to toilet paper (yes, there are a few!) and find new ways to keep our spirits up. We are more present on morning walks and take time to enjoy the beauty of a sunrise, spring flowers in bloom or even a bike ride (for some of us our old joints are waking up). As colleagues we are becoming more creative in our work each day, finding ways to reach out and engage while keeping it real but with a sense of humor. And finally, we’re even reading a great book ("Stupid Gone Viral – When Science and Reality Collide")!

Loss of Control. So much of our negative behavior comes down from those feelings of a loss of control over things that really matter to us, or at least they did last week. Giving up control that we never really had shouldn’t be so hard, but for many of us, it is.

Our desire for ourselves and others who haven’t achieved perfection yet is to learn to live out of an abundance of:

  • Grit – The ability to act with firmness of mind and spirit in the face of difficulty, staying focused on our purpose (what’s really important to us) while navigating the obstacles along the way.

  • Grace – Acting with kindness, generosity and suspended judgment. Engaging in the restorative and touching the human spirit.

Let’s do more of that!

Can I get an Amen?

Titter Time: HOARDING

Why don’t people ever hoard good stuff? If I were a hoarder, I’d have a house full of chocolate and Cinnabons!

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