Four Understandable Reasons Why People Don’t Wear Masks … and What to Do

Boy, this is a topic I didn’t want to get into. It is so controversial and divisive. But as time goes on, and I guess it will continue to go on, it seems too important for me to ignore.

Masks! Please don’t stop reading. Even if you are sick of this whole subject and satisfied with your decisions and that of others, please read ahead. It might give you some insights into yourself or friends and families that might help.

Most people I see when I’m in town are wearing masks. It’s a law in Los Angeles and here in Kern. There are those I know, though, who tell me they are not doing it anyway. I was curious as to why so I’ve asked them. Two have medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, but here are the most common things others have told me.

“I’m done with this!”
“They are too hot and uncomfortable.”
“They steam up my glasses.”
“Dr. Fauci said we didn’t need to wear masks.”
“Now that we’re opening up and COVID is over … “
“It’s no worse than the regular flu and we don’t wear masks for that.”
“My friends make fun of me if I wear a mask.”
“No one can tell me what to do with my body and how I live my life.”
“It’s a personal choice and I chose not to.”
“They don’t protect me so I’ll probably get it anyway.”
“I’m not old, I don’t work in a processing plant or live in a nursing home.
I’m young and healthy. I feel fine. My friends aren’t sick. I don’t need a mask.”

I understand. I really do. I don’t like wearing them either. They are hot and they do steam up my glasses and they cut off my peripheral vision to attend to my service dog when we’re out. I have to keep looking down constantly to check on him and then I’m not looking where I’m going. And I really hate that no one can see when I’m smiling at them.

So believe me, I understand not wanting to wear masks. I can’t wait to get home or back in the car to take mine off. So what’s up with the others’ concerns?

To start with the reason I put up with wearing a mask despite how miserable they are.  I heard a health professional who had been traveling from ER to ER in various cities and countries talk about what he had noticed. He said this.

 “In places where people are wearing masks, there are fewer COVID-D cases than where masks are not being worn.”

That did it for me because I DON’T want to get this disease. I don’t want my husband to get it from me. I don’t want anyone to get it from me. It is just a too scary and unpredictably awful disease.

But obviously that doesn’t do it for some others. To take mask-wearing seriously enough to do that, we need to believe four things:

Four Beliefs We Need to Put Up with Wearing a Mask

  1. The COVID pandemic still exists. If someone believes COVID is over or about to disappear, they’ll be less inclined to put up with the discomfort of wearing a mask.
  2. COVID is a grave health crisis. If someone believes COVID exists but is no big deal, no worse than the seasonal flu and is being blown of out proportion, why wear a mask?
  3. If we believe COVID is getting worse and can’t be stopped, we’re less motivated to wear masks, concluding instead that we have to get on with life, learn to live with COVID and accept however bad it gets.
  4. COVID will be with us for an unknown amount of time before there is a vaccine and there are steps we can take to reduce it, and you can help by wearing a mask to make a positive difference for yourself and those you love. If one thinks they can’t get COVID; that they are perfectly healthy and safe, or they believe someone is just trying to make us do something they don’t want to do, or that what we personally do won’t matter, then there’s little motivation to put up with wearing a mask.

What Do You Believe?

In this context, you can see the beliefs underlie the comments I’ve heard. How about you? Do you believe or disbelieve these four statements?  How about your friends and family members? Do you or they have questions or doubt some of these statements?

I don’t believe people who aren’t wearing masks do so because they don’t care about their health or the health and lives of others. I think it could be that they don’t want to believe these statements. They are too ugly, too difficult, too awful. It’s easier to believe otherwise. Or maybe their beliefs are simply based on the information they have. Or maybe they haven’t thought about these things and are just focused on enjoying a normal life.

What To Do

If you have doubts about the truth of these statements you should explore your doubts. How did you form your beliefs? How did you come to them? What are they based on? What is the evidence for or against them? According to whom are they true? Or not true? What is the source of their conclusions? What is their evidence?

To clarify your thoughts about the four beliefs, you can Google these statements on reputable medical sites that reflect direct experience with COVID. You’ll find well-documented answers to consider and weigh. Just be sure the information you consider is up-to-date. What is known about this virus and what to do about it changes almost daily.

This kind of search is how I found my answers to the four beliefs and I would be glad to share what I found. But I’d rather you seek it out yourself because, blessedly, I do not have direct experience with the COVID virus so I’ll be sharing second-hand information.

You can explore these same beliefs with doubting friends and family members in non-judgmental, compassionate ways. Let’s hope as we do this kind of investigation, we can get through the controversy and divisiveness by being tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving.

If you’re struggling with feeling safe again, please call or email me to see if I can help you and if you are interested in any subject on this site, please contact me.