This article outlines our innate connection as human beings, and how just reminding ourselves of that connection can reduce feelings of isolation in COVID-19.
The Need for Community
One of our basic human needs is connection. A sense of belonging and community. There has been a lot of discussion around this topic in general over the past few years. The presiding opinion being that the rise of technology, decline of the church and enhanced focus on individualism has led to a reduction in our sense of community as humans.
And then, of course, there’s this global pandemic which thrusts us into a more intense sense of isolation. The term ‘self-isolation’ has become so commonly spoken it’s easy to become desensitised to the notion that we are all actively staying away from each other, which goes against our fundamental needs as communal beings.
What Unites Us
However, there is one central, eternal experience which bonds every one of us. Feelings. No matter who you are, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or life experience, every one of us feels a range of emotions every day.
No matter how you are feeling at any given moment, at any given time, another human being is feeling or has felt just like you. How incredible is that? This is such a powerful reminder that no matter how alone or separate we may feel, another human being feels the same as you do. Right now as you read this, tune in to how you feel. Someone in the world feels the exact same way. They might be in India, South Africa, New Zealand, or they might live right next door to you. We are all connected.
The human experience is so vast, so complicated and yet - it is astonishingly simple at its core. We all are born, and before we know how to do anything, we know how to feel. There is not a single human emotion which is unique to one person. Experiences, of course, can vary widely. But the emotion at the core is universal.
The Ever-changing Ebb and Flow of Life
While you are in the thick of an emotion, it can feel like it will last forever, be it a pleasant or unpleasant. You will always experience highs and lows throughout your life. This is what makes you human. Yes, you can impact your overall levels of contentment through your thoughts and behaviours, and it’s so important to do so in order to take ownership of your life. But living a real, authentic and meaningful life, means accepting the transience of emotions - no matter what your preference for them may be. As I heard yoga teacher Eoin Finn say recently “We all have something on our plate that we did not order” and I think this global pandemic has reminded us all that we are one part of a much bigger whole, and intricately connected in our human experience.
If you remember nothing else from all this, remember this - you are not alone. You have never been, and will never be, alone in how you feel. When you hit those hard days, when you hit those life-doesn’t-get-better-than-this days, you have an estimated 108 billion people throughout human history to back you up. Remember you are part of something much bigger than your moment to moment experience. You're part of this human story, and we are all with you on your journey.
Wishing you well this week. Be kind to yourself.