One of my coaches always reminds me, “What you mutter matters.” As an author who aspired to be a journalist, I know the power and impact of words. I understand how words can have a great impact on us. They can either make us feel helpless or make us feel in control.
Here are a few words right now, during this Coronavirus pandemic, that are having a big impact on me:
Lockdown vs. Stay at Home or even Shelter in Place
Stay at Home and Shelter in Place are phrases that are being used interchangeable by officials right now and effectively mean the same thing in practice. I prefer stay at home.
The use of the word lockdown causes a visceral reaction in my body. We lockdown prisoners in a cell where they are unable to let themselves out. Yes, it may feel like we don’t have a choice while we are in stay at home mode, but we do. We can leave our houses for essential items as well as get some exercise. We have a choice if we stay at home. In lockdown we don’t. Right now, I am grateful I have a choice. It helps me feel I have control.
Social Distancing vs. Physical Distancing
We human beings are instinctively social beings. The use of practicing social distancing makes me cringe when I hear it. Now, more than ever before, we need interaction with others. We need that sense of closeness with others, those conversations that make us laugh, and those connections of warmth and compassion. It’s not Social Distancing. It is Physical Distancing we are asked to do. Stay 6 feet, 2 meters, apart from others physically. Let’s narrow the social distancing we are feeling during this time and connect with each other.
New Normal vs. New Reality
When I first heard the phrase “New Normal” I could feel my blood pressure rising. This is in no way, shape or form our new normal. There is absolutely nothing normal about feeling out of control, uncertain and deeply sad about our world right now. Normal is defined as: conforming to a standard; usual; typical or expected. These times are nothing like this definition at all. This is not nor will this be my new normal. This is our reality for this point in time. This is what we are challenged with…for now.
I ask each of you to please be very careful about the words you use during this time. Your words are powerful and will have great impact on your own and others’ feelings during this time when we are all very sensitive and are seeking some form of connection, calmness and certainty.
You can be the one to bring these feelings to others by remembering, “What you mutter matters.”
Written by Pat Obuchowski