The other day my daughter shared with me that physical distancing requirements had put a kibosh on her dating life. Sure, the possibility for online connections exist, but this certainly isn’t the same as meeting someone in person and getting to know them through these ongoing in-person encounters. Upon further reflection, I realized that while COVID-19 holds the potential to impact a person’s romantic life in a negative manner, it also holds the opportunity for each of us to welcome love into our lives in ways that we had never envisioned.
Love of work
The media is filled with predications that working from home may become the new normal and that we will likely never see a full return to on-site business. The ability to use technology and the chance to challenge the utility of current practices have been thrust upon us. What we also need to acknowledge is that people are lonely and are missing the informal, spontaneous and ongoing interaction with co-workers. While some benefits of mandated telecommuting have been realized, what has also happened is that people have begun to realize how much they actually valued and appreciated going into “the office” and interacting with other people to create results. Further, for those fortunate enough to retain jobs within this uncertain economic climate, there is a renewed sense of appreciation for the ability to earn a paycheque and contribute. A deeper understanding of the fulfillment that work can provide has emerged.
The use of online technology to continue communication with coworkers has also provided opportunities for us to get to know our colleagues in a more raw and human way. Conversations have not been all about business and colleagues are taking the time to check in with each other and meetings often begin with “How is everyone doing?”, with time to actually hear and respond to the responses given. Chatting about peoples’ office space (seen in the background during virtual sessions), seeing their pets as they join in online meetings and meeting their family members through unexpected visits from children popping into work sessions. All of these have opened a portal for us to see the personal side of our co-workers that never would have been available had we been restricted to only interacting at the worksite. Seeing these different aspects of our coworkers has opened our eyes and yes, our hearts, to others in different ways and has forged unforgettable bonds.
At the core of it, why we should, and do love to work, has been reaffirmed in so many ways during these turbulent times.
Love of others
We are learning that physical distancing does not equate to social distancing. Many have taken heed of this message and are using the opportunity to connect with friends (current and long-lost ones) in order to provide emotional support and encouragement during these anxious times. The willingness to authentically share and engage in vulnerable dialogue has brought people together. Genuine, heartfelt connections are being made and strengthened. In a great paradox, required distance has provided opportunities for greater closeness.
Other examples include neighbors shopping and running errands for those who are unable to perform these tasks. Children’s artwork adorns windows with words of encouragement to show compassion and kindness. Family members are enjoying activities and time together in unprecedented ways. All these ways to display, and be blessed by, the love of others have been magnified due to the pandemic.
Last, but certainly not least, the ultimate power and display of love for others is the selfless and courageous work being done by front-line workers. Our health care professionals, first-responders, care providers, essential retail employees are all examples of people who, on a daily basis, show the true meaning of putting others first while serving from a place of compassion and caring. It is my deepest hope that the dedication and love shown by so many will not be forgotten and will forever inspire the way we interact with one another going forward.
Love of self
We are dealing with uncertainty, loss, isolation and an unrelenting pace of change. Every day brings forth new information and different requirements. Naturally, all of this may lead to feelings of fear and frustration. As well, within our state of flux, goals will not always be accomplished. Despite best efforts, answers will not readily be available. Throughout this, a critical requirement will be the need to be patient and kind to oneself. This necessitates embracing one’s sadness and anxiety while accepting that we are human and having emotive reactions to unprecedented times. This also means appreciating that we are not infallible and are doing the best we can. All of these acts of self-love are needed, always, but especially during these difficult days. Only by accepting and loving ourselves will we be able to successfully navigate this new terrain.
What the world needs now
I began this text by indicating that COVID-19 provides us with the opportunity to welcome love into our lives in ways that we had never envisioned. In fact, it's not just an opportunity, it’s a necessity. We need to embrace the opportunities for our hearts to be awakened in novel ways. As the song lyrics aptly state, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
Originally published on the Double M Consulting blog.