Ask Kari: I am so frustrated with people not wearing masks! What can I do?

Dear Kari,

I am so confused and frustrated with people who will not wear masks in our community. Why don’t they get there is a worldwide pandemic going on? I feel like I just want to yell at everyone I see at the store who is not wearing a mask. Do you think it is okay to educate people on the rules of wearing a mask for health reasons or do you think I am crossing the line?

– Losing It

Dear Losing It,

I understand your frustration with others in your community who are not following the rules regarding COVID-19 and face masks. While it has become a requirement to wear a mask when outside your home in Washington, enforcement at this point is self-monitored. I empathize with your feelings that there may be others in the community who are not considering the bigger picture of overall community health and wellness, but I do not suggest you be the one to educate them. It’s just too confrontational and potentially dangerous, since you do not know how a stranger will respond to your engagement. Instead, continue to make good choices for yourself and move forward remembering that we are not in charge of others. (Hard to hear, but true.) You get to choose what you do and who you want to be, and others around you get the same choice.
I know worrying about others in life can cause anxiety, but accepting you are not responsible for everyone can actually be freeing, in the end. This, in turn, helps you focus your energy on your own life moving forward.

– Kari

As published in the August 2020 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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