Barton Goldsmith column: People have changed in the past year

One of the things you can do is to up your personal-kindness level and help out where and however you can.

Barton Goldsmith
Barton Goldsmith is a columnist for Tribune News Service. (TNS)
Contributed / Tribune News Service

It has been a very hard year. Hard because of the pandemic, the election, and the protests, and hard because some people are behaving more aggressively — a trickle-down effect from politicians to plumbers. In part this behavior must be fallout from anxiety over COVID-19, but I’m seeing people get meaner or perhaps just very self-protective, and it can be pretty toxic.

Yes, most all of us are struggling on some level, but you need to avoid projecting your pain onto those close to you, or anyone else for that matter. One of the biggest lies about the vaccines is that they have microchips in them that will track and perhaps even program us. It’s not true, but I wish the vaccines did have chips in them, so we could program people to be nicer.

If we keep being unkind and even mean to others, our society will crumble under the weight of it all. We all know there is too much hate, and those of us who still care about this planet and its inhabitants want that to change. There is enough negative energy just from COVID-19. Letting in any more is just too much, but it isn’t easy to escape.

These emotional vampires and Wall Street werewolves we all have to deal with in life are doing what all of us are doing. They are taking care of themselves first, and that’s fine unless you’re hurting others in the process. If everyone is trying to get over on everybody else, a lot of people are at the bottom of the pile getting trampled, and it has to stop.


One of the things you can do is to up your personal-kindness level and help out where and however you can. It does add to the positive and does help to change the world, so don’t think your efforts are going to waste. We need every drop of your personal positivity to make good things happen. If the positive does not outweigh the negative, everyone loses.

It’s kind of a pay-it-forward thing: Put the positive out now, and let it catch on. Now that we have the vaccines and most of us can go out, it won’t be any fun if everyone is being nasty and just looking out for No. 1. It’s the care we get from others that makes outings fun; we want to be around people who either love us or at the very least don’t dislike us.

Whether you have been disenfranchised for generations or your loss is more recent or related to the pandemic, you have an opportunity to turn things around. Our world has changed, and we are seeing things differently now. Once you have been through something this devastating, the only way out is up. We will raise the level of consciousness in our world, and our own personal circumstances, if we put more positive actions and energy out there.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at ©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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