The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being in these complicated times. Please send your questions to email@example.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!
For all other inquiries, please direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am being required to get the jab to keep my job…Should I fight this? Can I fight this? Or should I just quietly move on?
No jab for me—EVER!
Thank you for your question. I love the total clarity you have on your decision not to get the shot, even though your job is at stake! You strike me as a strong person; let’s see how we can channel your strength into a decision about what to do next.
Something I notice about your message is that there are a couple of “should” questions. I’d like to suggest that you try replacing “should” with “Do I want…?” That boils it down to:
“Do I want to fight this?” and “Do I want to just quietly move on?”
When you ask yourself these “What do I want?” questions, what comes up for you? Do you like your job enough to fight for it? Do you feel so strongly about the injustice of what’s going on that you want to make a stand, regardless of whether it saves your job or not? Or would you really rather use this as an opportunity to let go and move on to something better?
To me, “should” carries a heavy weight with it. It has a connotation of obligation, pressure, and maybe even some guilt. “Should” is about other people’s advice and expectations. But “want” is about you. It puts you in the driver’s seat. When you decide what you want, you can choose your path according to what’s most important to you.
About your “Can I fight this?” question - I assume what you mean is: “Do I have any chance of winning if I fight this?” There are ways of fighting back, such as seeking a medical or religious exemption from the shot, if either of those apply to you. If you decide that fighting this is what you want to do, the only way to know what’s possible is to try. Whatever the outcome, you’ll be able to know that you bravely stood up for yourself and others who share your position.
May you have clarity and confidence as you decide what next steps are best for you!
I am very sad to say that I took the vaccine a while back. My family and friends were all getting it – it seemed like everybody was – and I didn’t ask many questions or really look into it. But now I know much more. I’ve learned about what this “vaccine” really is and possible adverse effects, and I’m scared to death over what I may have done to my body. I carry this fear around with me all the time, obsessing over what might be going on inside of me, and what it’s going to mean long-term. I feel such deep regret. What can I do??
What a heavy burden you are carrying. Thank you for sharing it with me. Let’s just take a moment to breathe together, a couple of deep breaths in and out…
Okay. I hope that what follows will be helpful to you.
Now, I’m not able to speak to the medical aspects of your decision, so I recommend finding a doctor you can trust to consult about the best way to care for your body post-vaccine.
What I can talk with you about is what’s going on in your emotional world.
I want to start off by encouraging you to give yourself some compassion. The last few years have been a crazy, confusing time. There have been so many factors at play – media sources giving conflicting information, social and governmental pressure to be vaccinated and follow all the COVID mandates, mental health mayhem caused by lockdowns and ever-changing rules about how we’re allowed to live…
You made a decision that seemed good to you at the time, based on what you knew at that point. Try to release any blame you may feel toward yourself. We all make decisions we later look back on with perfect hindsight and wish we could change. What’s past is past. Now, your job is to focus on the moment you are in and ask, “What can I do to help myself now?”
Let’s talk about the fear. Whenever you feel that fear rise up, I want you to stop and breathe, just like we did above. Fear thrives on lack of air, so flood it with a healthy dose of oxygen, and you should feel some calm return.
Fear also loves the unknown. Anytime you “obsess about what might be going on inside” of you, fear has a field day. The truth is you can’t really know what your decision to take the vaccine means for you. You can’t know what’s going to happen. It’s the same with anything in life. We create elaborate projections into the future within our minds, and they can feel so real that we start to accept them as fact and reality.
The antidote to that fear of the future (and by the way, all fear is future-based) is to return to the moment. What do you know to be true about your life in this present moment? What is beautiful about this moment? What do you love about your life in this moment? Those are the things you can be sure of.
I want to recommend that you do some writing about all this. Write down your fears as they come up, and then come back to the moment and write down all the things you’re grateful for. Let that gratitude connect you to the present, the only reality that is actually happening.
I truly hope that a doctor can recommend some good ways to care for yourself physically. Please know that a calm, peaceful, happy state of mind is also amazing medicine.
Last, you now have a very powerful, personal way to help others, if you choose. If you know or have a way to connect with other people who are considering the vaccine, consider telling them your story. Encourage them to think twice, to do their research, and point them to sources you’ve found valuable and true. It would be an incredible gift to offer if it resonates with you to do so.
I truly hope that you will choose to transform your regret and fear into peace and presence. To your health!
It seems like COVID might be dying down somewhat, with some places in the world starting to lift restrictions. I feel hopeful, but at the same time hesitant to believe it fully. The past few years have been such a rollercoaster ride…what if things get bad again in a few months, and we’re hit with a whole new wave of mandates? I want to fly overseas to see my family later this spring, but it feels so hard to make plans. It feels like something bad could happen at any moment, and everything could be turned upside down again. How can I handle the uncertainty?
Yes – these past few years, uncertainty has certainly been the name of the game. I hear you; we desperately want to hope that we could be near the end of all this insanity, but we’ve hoped and been disappointed before. How do we move forward?
You know, it’s funny: When I think back to life before COVID, the first mental images I get give me a rosy feeling of certainty, dependability, predictability…That was back when all was right with the world, when I knew what was going on in life, when things were stable and normal.
But when I look a little harder at pre-COVID life, I find that my rose-colored glasses fall off. I remember that actually, life then was also unpredictable, uncertain, surprising, upside down at times…just in different ways. There was no global pandemic to speak of, but my life still contained struggles, things I didn’t always know how to handle, and events that would blindside me out of nowhere.
The bottom line is this: COVID or not, we never know what’s going to happen tomorrow…or later today…or in the next hour…or in the next minute.
Before COVID, you might have made plans to visit your family, and the flight could have been cancelled due to weather, an airline strike, a natural disaster, or any number of things. Plans, even though we may have felt much more secure in making them in the past, are always tentative.
But should we stop making plans? Should we say, “Things are so uncertain right now, why should I even bother?”? Is that the way we want to live?
I encourage you to allow yourself to feel the hope. That hope doesn’t have to be based on knowing what’s going to happen; it can be about choosing to live even though you don’t know what’s going to happen.
The act of making choices and plans is inherently hopeful. And when you choose to live and act despite uncertainty, it can create opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible if you had decided to wait until everything was “certain.”
So, hope, act, and be open and flexible with what comes your way. I hope with all my heart that you get to see your family this spring, and that you choose to live joyfully and bravely in this uncertain world!
Before COVID, my wife and I used to go out on a date once a week. It was a really special part of our relationship that we both looked forward to. But then COVID hit, and we stopped going out. Now that restrictions have lifted more in our area, I feel eager to start up our weekly dates again, but my wife is hesitant, still worried about being around too many people. I’m having a really hard time with the fact that she doesn’t want to go out, especially since it’s one of the only ways we can get time alone together, away from our kids. What can I do?
It's wonderful to hear that you and your wife had set aside such special, consistent time to spend together! It’s a rare thing to see a couple prioritize their relationship so strongly these days. With that kind of precedent, I feel confident that you’ll be able to work through this current challenge you’re facing.
So, you want to go out, she wants to stay in. Let’s see if we can find a way to make spending time together special and comfortable for both of you.
When you think about how things used to be, what aspects of going out together felt most important to you? Was it the chance to be alone, without the kids? Being able to talk uninterrupted and really connect with each other? The change of scenery? Trying fun, new things together? Relaxing and getting away from the cares of the week? When you feel the lack of those weekly nights out, what part of the experience do you miss the most?
Now, how you could recreate those aspects in a way that works for both of you? It’s going to take some redefining of what “going out” means. If a highlight for you in the past was enjoying a great restaurant experience together, maybe you could pick up take out for the two of you and find a beautiful place outside to dine. If simply having uninterrupted, kid-free time was high priority, try getting a babysitter who will take the kids to a park for a few hours while the two of you stay in. If you loved having a change of scenery, taking a private drive together through a scenic area could be lovely. With some imagination, you can create experiences together that, while different from the past, can still nurture your relationship in similar ways.
A final note: I encourage you to do your best to be patient with your wife’s hesitations. Even though things seem to be shifting with COVID, it’s not easy for some people to “unsee” the experiences we’ve all been through the past few years. The world is different now and may continue to be different going forward. If we can be flexible and roll with the idea of being creative and trying new ways to do things, we’ll be a lot happier. And if you don’t let the memory of “how things used to be” weigh you down, your relationship will continue to grow and thrive. Wishing you many happy times together!
I’ve been thinking about participating in a protest against the way my government is handling COVID. I really care about standing up for freedom for myself and my fellow citizens, but at the same time, I feel apprehensive. What if I’m arrested or face other negative consequences for being involved? What will friends and family members who have a different perspective on the situation think of me? Will it even make a difference if I’m there or not? I really feel afraid and unsure, and yet…I feel like I can’t not do this. I’m looking for some clarity…thank you!
I consider anyone who is even thinking about speaking up against today’s injustices to be brave. It would be so much easier to just give in and go along with the game. You should feel proud of yourself for thinking these things through!
The first thing I want you to know is it’s okay that you’re feeling afraid and unsure. Any time we think about doing something big, something that stretches us beyond anything we’ve done before, we are going to feel uncomfortable. And sometimes the experience of feeling afraid generates even more fear. You can start to wonder if the fear is a sign that you shouldn’t do the thing you’re thinking about doing, that maybe you’re going off track, that maybe something’s wrong with you, that maybe you’re not so brave after all…
Just know that the fear is there to tell you you’re onto something big…that if you decide to follow the voice inside that’s calling you to speak up, you’re going to expand to a whole new level of who you are.
There could be consequences for getting involved. And yes, family and friends might raise eyebrows or have something to say to you about this bold action on your part. Ask yourself: Would the personal payoff of doing something you believe in outweigh the actions or reactions of others?
You asked if it will make a difference if you’re there or not. In my opinion, yes – every person and every voice in this battle makes a huge difference. But as with anything in life, you need to matter to yourself first. Will it make a difference to you if you’re there or not? How would you look at yourself afterward if you choose to protest? How would you look at yourself if you decide not to?
The end of your message is so powerful: “I feel like I can’t not do this.” It sounds to me like you have your answer right there. You’re feeling the pull to stand up, to speak out so strongly, that it’s almost like there’s no other option but to act, despite your fears. When you get that feeling, take it seriously. Your inner wisdom is guiding you.
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- Advice column premier: Back to Center
Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to email@example.com
Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.