03 May What Lessons Can We Learn from COVID 19?
I love our Reflection Friday open forum conversations because I never know where they will take us. They always provide some new perspectives and insights for me. Our small gathering of women this week didn’t let me down. The conversation was rich, thought-provoking, and filled with keen insights into the lessons we can learn from the COVID 19 pandemic.
When the US went through 9/11, the citizens of the country came together. There was a united and deep caring for each other. One would have hoped that a pandemic where tens of thousands of people are dying would have done the same. But it hasn’t. Instead, it has filled many with divisiveness, and anger. We’re seeing people disengage from conversations that challenge their opinions, move away from curiosity, and in fact – compassion and love. Is this a result of the pandemic, or has it been ingrained into our society? Probably both.
Fear stems from a perception of threat and triggers the fight or flight response to keep us safe. When we see people, who are standing firm in their opinions, justifying their views and shut down from hearing what others have to say, they are probably responding unconsciously to fear within them. They are in fight mode. However, these fears may have been triggered by the pandemic or from deep-rooted past experiences that the brain is connecting to.
Some people may be fearful of getting sick, while others may have fears stemming from their financial situation. However, feelings of fear stop our ability to think rationally, so we close ourselves off from seeing the falseness in our beliefs.
When you’re faced with the loss of income or see business growth contracting significantly, fear can easily set in. One might have thought that people had learned important financial lessons from the Great Recession in 2008. However, as the economy strengthened over the past few years, and the job market was robust, people reverted to their high standard of living and forgetting what it feels like when you live in uncertainty. One might have thought the financial struggles encountered by so many people twelve years ago would have encouraged people to monitor their spending, save for the future, and live within their means. But this wasn’t the case. Many people have been laid off or furloughed and don’t have a nest egg of savings to fall back on. Re-opening the economy is important, but people are pushing hard for it because of their own financial situations, and not considering the wellbeing of others separates us from the essence of whom we are as humans – caring and loving of others.
We are still living in a society where personal insecurities, a lack of self-love drives people to get a sense of fulfillment from extrinsic sources – such as material possessions. Many are still trying to prove their worth by the things they own or the lifestyle they lead.
Has the greatest challenge of social isolation been to spend more time with ourselves? Each of the women on the call was enjoying social isolation. They were able to find the joys from it – whether it was more time for themselves to learn, and grow; more time with their family – getting deeply involved in their children’s education or savoring a slower pace of life – not having to race from place to place and spending hours each day in the car. Life has become even more productive while providing time to bask in what is truly important.
So, if you are immersed in fear, know that you have a choice. You can let your brain shut off rational thoughts that can move you into opportunities and growth, or you can be conscious of it and choose to see the situation from a different perspective. Remember, your choice won’t just affect your life, but the lives of those you surround yourself with. You are the role model of others so consider who is the person you want to be for them.