“Mom, be nice.”

I like it when my daughter calls me out for being judgy or unkind or just plain thoughtless when I could be practicing compassion or self-awareness instead … like the other day.

A woman walked by while I was sitting on my front stoop. She had earbuds in. I caught her side of a conversation.

“Yep, it’s everywhere,” she said. Yes, the United States, too [pause]. Huh? [pause] COVID [pause]. It’s called COVID. C – O – V – I – D. COVID.”

I was dumbfounded, and desperate to know who on earth she was talking to, or rather, who on Mars she was talking to because surely it isn’t possible to be living on planet earth right now and not know what’s going down.

I stepped inside and shared the incident with my girl. It was too good not to share. Her response: “Perhaps she was speaking to someone with Alzheimer’s.”

Well played, Anna. Sometimes my daughter is a really great teacher.

Right now, there’s a lot of judgment going on.

Trust me, I’m not judging the judgers. I’m one of them. I’ve been judging everyone and anyone who hasn’t been managing COVID-19 the way I’d like them to.

Like the delivery guy who rang my doorbell the other day and was fully prepared to hand me my parcel until I asked him to leave it on the ground.

And the guy at the convenience store who approached the lottery machine just two feet away from me when I was making a purchase.

And the shoppers walking the wrong way in the grocery store’s newly imposed one-way system.

And the guy on the construction site who removed his mask to cough into his ungloved hand before handling building materials that will no doubt be handled by others [GASP].

The thing is, humans are human.

Some don’t give a sh*t. I get that. But there are also many who are well-intentioned but absent-minded, or grief-stricken, or suffering from mental illnesses … or living on Mars. Who’s to know?

It wasn’t until I broke down and had a full-on ugly cry a couple of weeks ago that I remembered I need to let people be people. I need to accept that I can’t control what those around me are doing. All I can control are my own actions and the thoughts in my head.

We can choose to judge or we can choose to be nice.

We can choose to jump to conclusions or we can choose to recognize that we don’t know what we don’t know.

And even when we do know that someone who should know better is stepping completely out of line, we can choose to be nice to ourselves by not obsessing over their behaviour because that’s not going to serve us, and now is the time to do what serves us, as individuals and as a collective.

Action is helpful. Judgment is not.

Obsessing over those we believe are acting inappropriately and then ranting about their stupidity by phone or on social media may feel good in the moment but serves nobody in the long-run.

Asking neighbours if they need help, calling isolated friends, minimizing our outings, making masks for frontline workers, being patient with grocery store clerks, being part of the solution in whatever way we can — that’s helpful.

(As is having a good cry from time to time.)

I’d like to share a Sadhguru quote my friend Jenn Lately shared in her weekly newsletter:

“What comes our way is largely beyond our control… but what we do with that is 100% our responsibility. This is an evolutionary test…”

If, even in the face of fear and uncertainty, we can lead with a little extra love, compassion and self-awareness, I’m confident we can pass this test.

Viv for Today xo