Robert Plutchik (21 October 1927 – 29 April 2006) was professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and he was also a psychologist. He authored or coauthored more than 260 articles, 45 chapters and eight books and edited seven books. Plutchik studied and documented there are a set of basic human emotions which we all share and his wheel of emotions illustrates these basic emotions and the various ways they relate to one another. (Source: Wikipedia)
As we are living in such emotional times due to Covid-19’s impact on all of us, Issaquah Daily asked City of Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly to take a look at Plutchik’s wheel of emotion and describe a few of her emotions at this time. Thank you to Mayor Pauly for being so open in sharing these thoughts with the community.
From Mayor Mary Lou Pauly:
Our responsibilities as public servants are to make good, balanced policy decisions on city services, and to be judicious in the use of the public’s hard-earned dollars. We plan for emergencies, and manage a variety of them, however, the pandemic is just utterly mind boggling – like a Rubik’s Cube. That said, we are up for the challenge.
I have learned so much in the last two months about the interconnectedness of our homelife, work environments, leisure time, and family and friend relationships. The pandemic had a domino effect as it evolved, each domino knocking down the next aspect of our social connections, and dramatically affecting our ability to satisfy our emotional needs and ensure our health and wellbeing. It’s been literally shocking.
Here is my attempt at answering your questions on the 8 core emotions and my emotional experiences as a leader during one of the most significant health challenges we will likely see in our lifetimes.
COVID-19 – Trying to lead during a pandemic.
• Anger – I’m feeling annoyed – not angry. I want to better understand this virus, it’s health impacts and how we control it. So much is still unknown and evolving. I’m committed to responsibly managing the health risks so we can safely provide this community with the services, activities and interactions that they so cherish.
• Sadness – I could write a long list of items that have made me feel sad. This includes people who have battled this virus, passed away or lost loves ones. Others have lost their employment – or are facing reduced hours, furloughs or pay cuts – and are still trying to pay for bills, food and a roof over their head. Businesses may shutter. I’m also sad for those who are fearful of the unknown. Those that are missing family, friends, hugs, social contact and the celebration of amazing life milestones. Personally, I miss my family that lives in other towns and countries. I will miss the memorial service for my dad (scheduled for this weekend), and have seen significant anniversary, birthday and wedding celebrations cancelled or postponed.
• Fear – I am nervous for those in our community who are more vulnerable to this disease. We need to have new ways of supporting them because they may suffer the negative impacts of quarantining and isolation for a longer period of time than the rest of us.
• Joy – I feel joy each time a new challenge is resolved through collaboration. I also enjoy every creative video made and shared to make people feel better, or crack a smile or chuckle. All of the “Thinking of You” cards that community members and students have written to residents of Issaquah Nursing and Rehab was so heartwarming. I’m also joyful for the willingness of people to help and volunteer on a broad, community wide basis.
• Interest – I am interested in staying vigilant that we are re-opening in a safe way, managing the remaining health risks, and responding to the COVID-19 monitoring data changes quickly and effectively. I trust that all of our community members and businesses will do the responsible thing, which is protecting ourselves, our family, our friends and everyone we are encountering in our community.
• Surprise – I am shocked at the stunningly severe impact this virus has had on the economy, and the ripples we are likely to feel for years to come.
• Disgust – This is not an emotion I have experienced. I do feel disappointed by those that have politicized the conversation, that state opinions versus facts, or have taken advantage of this disaster to defraud, harm or take advantage of people or businesses.
• Trust –I know our community members will do the right thing. I know the evolving science will show us what this COVID-19 beast is and how to master it. I know my city team and our City Council will work with the community to adjust to the significant challenges this pandemic has inflicted on our community.