“Like seeing roasted meat and other dishes in front of you and suddenly realizing: This is a dead fish. A dead bird. A dead pig. Or that this noble vintage is grape juice, and the purple robes are sheep wool dyed with shellfish blood. Or making love—something rubbing against your penis, a brief seizure and a little cloudy liquid. Perceptions like that—latching onto things and piercing through them, so we see what they really are. That’s what we need to do all the time—all through our lives when things lay claim to our trust—to lay them bare and see how pointless they are, to strip away the legend that encrusts them. Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, that’s when he has you in his spell.”— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
One tendency that we humans have is that we do whatever we can to avoid pain and discomfort. When life gets tough, when winter knocks at our door, when things get super hard or when a health scare engulfs the world, we all try to run away from it. We take the refuge of certain unhealthy coping mechanisms and start looking for radical solutions and instant fixes to these issues. One of them — and a very common one — is sprinkling fairy dust over everything.
Don’t get me wrong. Hope is a good thing. But irrational and blind hope is a trap and can be detrimental to us and our lives.
It takes time to solve problems. It takes time for things to change. It’s good to have an optimistic mindset but that doesn’t mean you need to let go of reality and harbor yourself in delusion. Instead of sprinkling fairy dust, we must work towards cultivating objectivity and acting rationally.
As Josh Lanyon said, “If there was one life skill everyone on the planet needed, it was the ability to think with critical objectivity.”
Yes, hope and pray for things to get better, but also prepare for the worst case scenario. You never truly know what curveball life may throw at you, and that’s why it’s wise to contemplate and train in advance. “What is quite unlooked for is more crushing in its effect,” Seneca instructed, “and unexpectedness adds to the weight of a disaster. The fact that it was unforeseen has never failed to intensify a person’s grief. This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. We should project our thoughts ahead of us at every turn and have in mind every possible eventuality instead of only the usual course of events.” Prior preparation can be an incredibly useful tool in our arsenal to combat the deceptive illusions of “fairy dust” thinking.
It’s important that you understand this, now more than ever. Just because you’re experiencing lockdown fatigue and feel that you’re done with COVID-19 doesn’t mean it’s done with you. With regard to the pandemic and the risk factors involved, nothing has changed. You must practice the same safety precautions, you must still disinfect surfaces, you must still wear a mask, you must still wash or sanitize your hands, and you must still practice social distancing as difficult as it may seem. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we have certain needs that must be met for our better well-being and that it’s okay to pursue novelty, excitement and fun to help us go through this crisis. But the truth is that the risks are still there and we must still do all that we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected.
No matter what the news, the media or the uneducated people on the Internet say, you must act with reason. You must prepare yourself beforehand and be proactive in avoiding the coronavirus as much as possible.
As tempting as it might be, get rid of the fairy dust and the illusion of blissful thinking. Wearing rose-colored glasses doesn’t make the world actually rose-colored.
Nothing has changed. Things are still the same, and the war is still on. Life is what it is, and it’s wise to face it without any self-centered filters.
Your only job at this point of time is to focus on doing the right thing, no matter what. It’s rough, but you must keep calm and carry on. You must continually strive to show up as your best and most virtuous self as we battle this pandemic together. That’s the only way to overcome this global crisis, and we’re all counting on you.