Your Views Don’t Have to Become My Emergency

August 31st was the last day that anyone could work at my hospital without being vaccinated against Covid-19.  Our healthcare system decided that this policy would be the best way to keep our patients and staff safe during the pandemic.  As you might imagine, the policy was not without controversy, and it did lead to the loss of numerous members of our emergency department staff.

I don’t understand why anyone would choose not to get vaccinated against Covid right now, but the beauty is that I don’t have to.  I also don’t have to try to convince my coworkers to see the issue the same way I do.  Yeah, you heard me right.  I can love them and let them have their own views.  I can do that while I also support the hospital’s vaccine mandate. 

I can do that because I’ve decided to give up on trying to change other people’s minds.

This hasn’t been easy.  Our brains are programed to find ways for us to belong.  From an evolutionary standpoint, being left out of the main group meant starvation or death.  For that reason, we seek harmony and agreement with those around us.  It sounds nice, but the problem is that this habit tends to push us toward those who see the world as we do and away from those who don’t.  Add in current Google and Facebook algorithms and most of us live in a world where it feels like an emergency when people don’t share our thoughts and beliefs. 

Then our brains tell us we need to show the other person why we’re right and this creates a feeling of desperation.

When we put a feeling like desperation into the Thought Model in this type of situation, we tend to end up with actions like:

• Badgering the other person

• Judging the other person

• Excessively posting “evidence” in support of your views on social media

• Making harsh comments about the other person’s views

The interesting thing is that the result of actions like that is that we become exclusionary and push the other person away which, of course, is the exact opposite of what we had hoped to accomplish in the first place.

We also know from the Thought Model that we can never actually change another person’s thoughts or feelings.  Our actions are always a circumstance for someone else.  It is still up to them to decide how they respond to us.

So what do I do instead?  Well, I’ve been focused on trying to create a feeling of acceptance and compassion for my coworkers who have decided to leave work instead of getting vaccinated.  It feels much better than judgement or desperation and the actions I have taken from that place emotionally have led to some of the most rewarding conversations I’ve had in a long time.  It has also helped me build connections rather than push people away.

It’s not easy to embrace people who see the world differently especially when it comes to what we tell ourselves are the “big issues,” but I promise you it’s worth the effort.  If you’d like to learn more about how to do this, sign up for my free training – How To Feel Better On Your Next Shift – and start getting regular updates and information about our next available coaching opportunity.