While the world had been obliged to keep distance, closing doors, buildings and borders, it felt like somehow the world became more connected. We had little real contacts, but the contacts we had seem to be more real.
The New Normal
Social distancing is high likely to going to stay for a while. ‘The 1.5-meter-society’ might become the new normal, as well as working from home. Moreover, a second peak of this virus, or even a new peak of another virus might force us to cut our real-life connections again.
The New Pandemic
‘After the Covid-pandemic, we will be faced with a psychological pandemic’, warned various mental-health care workers all over the world. The reports of the sector all over the world already confirm their concern.
The isolation, the fear of the unknown, anxiety, burn-outs and bore-outs, repression in some countries, high pressure on health care workers, feelings of helplessness, feelings of loss of control.
The list of mental bruises left by the pandemic is huge.
The New Boating
When a crisis as big as Covid-19 strikes down, we are all in the same storm, yet in a different boat. We are all in a different position, yet trying to keep on going. For some it might mean sailing out for miles on a row, for others it will be only about keeping the head above water. Some might be well-equipped with luxury yachts, while others will have to do it with a piece of driftwood. Some might be good swimmers; others might never have learned it.
It is not up to us to judge. It is not up to us to push others under water. Life is not a race. It is up to us to reach a hand if we can, and it is as well our right to withhold our hand if we cannot. Everybody has their own limits, and it is not up to us to push others’ limits.
The hardest part is, when you reach a hand for someone who’s drowning, but you notice they only want to pull you under. There are pirates out there, who are not genuinely in need, but abuse the situation. In that case, you have to let go. No matter how much you care about this person. No matter how guilty you feel. You have to let go.
You cannot safe one’s life if yours is lost.
The New Listening
A strong buffer against these psychological issues are genuine contacts; having the ability to tell a story, and be heard. Without judgement. All of us had their way to experience the Covid-19 episode; with our own pains and gains, our own wins and losses, our own fears and joys.
It is painful if one finally gathers the courage to share a story, share feelings and experiences, only to find out the other is not really listening. Distracted in their mind with their stories, using your story as a cloth hanger for their own stories, or having this mental barrier of miss-understanding between one another in which one listens out of the perspective of itself, not out of the other’s.
Often a reply starts with ‘If I were you’, but the story does not go about the I. To really listen, we have to create a tabula rasa in our minds, and step out of our shoes, and step in the shoes of the story teller. We don’t immediately have to come up with solutions and other stories.
Contrary, the best we can do is listen, and express empathy, ‘I get you’, or even ‘I don’t get you, because I cannot understand out of my life, but I feel with you for what you’re telling me.’
Sometimes the biggest help, the biggest need, and the best solution lays all in the simple act of sharing your story and being listened to.
The New Language
All humans are born with a beautiful gift, which distinguishes us from other animals on this planet. This gift is why we have developed this highly connected, globalised and almost futuristic world. It makes us able to live in bigger tribes than any other kind of animal. It gives us the possibility to build different chapters to our lives, transform our inner and outer world.
The gift is the ability to develop languages so rich and complicated they can even refer to the non-existent world.
It makes us creative and inventive. It helps us build connections even with people we have never seen before and we even don’t share the same language with.
Or linguistic ability is a gift we should use for the better. Words are powerful. There are inspiring words that can cause a revolution like ‘I had a dream’, or devastating words that can cause a civic war like mad tweets. There are connecting words that can spread over the world as an infectious smile, while there are dividing words that can spread as a destroying pest.
We should pick our words wisely, and listen carefully to the words of others. We should take a break between what one says and how we respond, and know even the same words can have a different meaning for someone else. Therefore, we have to step out of our shoes and in the shoes of others to really understand. Who says what, why, and what does it really mean?
The New Happiness
That’s why during Covid-19 sharing stories was for many of us the best way to deal with the increased solitude and loneliness, fighting the psychological pandemic. Moreover, because in some cases Covid-19 created more time and less distractions, so people took the time to really talk and really listen; to form real connections over the distance.
I wrote before how the Danish incorporated these genuine intimate social relationships as fundamental part of their culture; and how that largely explains why they are honoured year after year as the happiest people.
Real connections are another fundamental part of us human beings. We are social animals, as they say. It still depends from person to person how much social contact and relationships are good for you, but we all need to feel connected, no matter how that connection looks to you.
Tremendous to know is that Covid-19 is not the only one to blame for solitude.
As written before, Covid-19 has shown many cracks in the system, it did not cause them all. It made them worse, but hopefully to such a level we become willing to change. Our 21st high-technologized and individualised societies already suffered from the loneliness pandemic. Let’s use our insights of Times of Corona when this time is over.
The New Connecting
So, long story short. When we wake up in the new normal, let’s implement this New Connecting. Let’s use our gifts and talents to do that what we need and what we are good at: sharing stories, real listening, and real connecting.
We need these connections, we need each other, because they are fundamental needs of humanity. You can have the best job, the biggest house, and the best filled bank account, but you are poor if you don’t have genuine connections.
You are poor if you don’t have genuine connections.
The Danish found it out before Covid-19, how well-being and happiness are dependent on real connections, and how taking time for each other and prioritising high-quality intimate relationships before material wealth and work are what makes you really wealthy.
So, even in times of little real contact, let’s strengthen our real contacts. In times of Corona, and far beyond.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breath taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
- the remarkable rewards of health
- The queeste for global health care
- Health Heroes
- Pains and Gains
- Solidarity 3.0
- Work-Life Balance
- Home sweet home
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.