Using positivity to cope with Covid negativity

Negative reactions of people have really nothing to do with Covid, but more to do with their nature; if it’s down to Covid, be patient, it will get better as time goes by

DR UBALDINA NORONHA | AUGUST 24, 2020, 06:48 PM IST
Using positivity to cope with Covid negativity

Following my article, ‘Treat the disease, not the diseased’, in The Goan on August 2, I have received a range of comments and more importantly testimonies of hurt, coupled with anger, that have made some bitter memories towards persons who have been insensitive or rude towards them .

Such a reaction is natural and it takes time to get over such feelings of hurt. Some of my limited wisdom (if one can call it that) I share here is meant for the people who reached out to me.Firstly, such negative reactions of people have really nothing to do with Covid, but more to do with the nature of the person. If it’s down to Covid, be patient, it will get better as time goes by, or the virus can go away totally somewhere in the future.But there is no such guarantee about any change in the nature of people.

Not unless they want to change themselves. You should not expect people to change so that you feel better or feel vindicated for the bad experience. Their behaviour is not within your control.In fact, some people may still want to stubbornly support their stand, misinformed as they may be, through the grapevine or with the inadequate knowledge they have about Covid. Of course, one has to also keep in mind, there are people who have been careless in their actions, knowingly or unknowingly, in this pandemic and hence have received negative reactions.

This is justifiable.On the other hand, due to Covid, if you have been an unwarranted target for another’s negativity, one can hope that they directly clarify with you, rather than spread the misinformation, both about you and the virus.In the very unlikely event of this not happening, what you can do is change your interpretation and hence reaction to them.

I find in such circumstances, using your own unique sense of humour, may help you cope in a much better way. Let it be as whacky as possible if it means to bring a smile to your face, so you get the hang of seeing things in a new witty light.SCENARIO 1: Someone has been misdiagnosed with being Covid positive even before a need for the test to confirm the same arises. Frontline workers face this issue.


This power of prediction, of some people, wrong as it might be, can be used by our meteorology department. After all, our weather predictions get so mixed up, it can do with extra telepathic help. All one needs to do is realign such persons in the right direction, to get their wrong predictions some fancy forecasting news.SCENARIO 2: You have tested positive with the rest of your contacts being negative, but have been given the positive tag in any way along with you. Or you have tested negative, and yet have been baptised as positive for Covid. Giving you positive outcomes come what may, are they? Look at the way how wonderfully optimistic such pessimistic persons are!SCENARIO 3: You tested positive along with the family, and faced ostracism from neighbours to the extent that you have been literally forced to leave your home temporarily. Well, look at the God-given talent of the people who led you to these actions.

They are just at the wrong location and with both, a misplaced and displaced aggression. Imagine these people along the LOC of our country, and their power to get the enemy to retreat farther away from their own land. Now, you are just helping them hone their skills for the safety of our country in thefuture.SCENARIO 4: You have been projected wrongly as being irresponsible by not quarantining yourself (even before anyone in your family actually goes for a Covid test). Of course, there is a point here. You should stay totally at home so that another person feels better about it. Quick, get the contacts of human rights groups, emails of all bureaucrats and host of online petitions. Let them go ahead and argue that you are granted infinite leave from work.

They are actually doing you a good deed. For this, Covid be damned, just go and hug them tightly. Worse comes, both of you can avail of suchleave.Keep smiling, be happy and laugh a lot, that’s the best for the immune system. And everyone can live happily after even in pandemic times!!!(The writer is Associate Professor, Dept of Psychology at St Xavier’s College)

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