It is easy to find fear on the faces of people now that the Coronavirus occupies every headline and lead story. All one has to do is go to the grocery and you will know what I am talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, the Coronavirus is serious business, and we should all be taking necessary precautions, but we must do so in a way that ensures we can all be safe, not for just ourselves and those important to us.
Coronavirus offers the world an opportunity to come together, panic does not
The Coronavirus has snared every aspect of our lives. The turn of events caused by this mysterious strain of viruses has created a new reality. Suddenly, nations are closing borders from their neighbors. Authorities have severely restricted travel. All major sporting events and gatherings have been cancelled or postponed. Schools and universities are closed, no graduation ceremonies planned. Bars and restaurants operating hours have been severely curtailed or shut down. People have been told not to work from home. Major cities established curfews and we have even been told not to touch others and to keep a six-foot distance. Last but not least, we are going to learn what “sheltering in place” really means.
In view of the danger we all face if we don’t take precautions to ensure we don’t overwhelm our healthcare system with those testing positive with the Coronavirus, these are all reasonable precautions. This new way of looking at the world is scaring the hell out of many people, and if we don’t address this fear, it will rage out of control into panic.
What the Coronavirus is showing us once again is that, if we are to survive as a species on this planet, we must come together to solve our challenges. I realize this goes against the politics of populism and nationalism, but perhaps this new threat offers us the opportunity to recalibrate our world view into one that is more inclusive, productive and less destructive.
You can feel afraid, but you can choose a more constructive behavior
If we allow the clutches of panic to snare us, we will do a lot of unnecessary damage to many people. When you feel panicked, you view yourself in danger of being isolated or cut off. This triggers our “fight-or-flight response” that causes us to view these recent events as a threat to our survival. The rest becomes predictable, many will begin to see themselves as “me against the world” and a war of attrition will begin, survival of the fittest becomes the rule of the day. You can see the beginnings of panic in the way so many keep hoarding supplies from our grocery stores.
If you think I am exaggerating, just think back to what happened after the attack on Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World War II. Panic and anger commingled to cause the United States government to force 120,000 Japanese Americans to be incarcerated in concentration camps in the western interior of our country.
In 2001, following 9/11, the terror generated by these horrible events led us to support the two longest wars in our nation’s history in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Choose the path of love, kindness and care
It is only natural for us to want to take care of ourselves and our family members, but the consequences are grave should we do this at the expense of others. Panic isolates us and allows us to dehumanize others so we can act in a self-serving manner, even if we know those actions hurt others.
We can choose another path. Just like we want to make sure our loved ones are safe; we can extend that care to for the health and benefit of those around us. We can choose to help save our community, our nation, our world. This is accomplished when by remaining calm considering our fear and by choosing kindness, generosity and to care for one another.
These are the times that try our souls, and yes, there will be loss, specially of loved ones. But it is through the actions of love that we will triumph over this challenge. Panic and you will simply help make things worse.
Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will reward you with glorious feelings of joy and contentment.