I was sitting at the doctor’s clinic the other day waiting for my turn, checking my emails from my mobile phone, and unintentionally listening to conversations around me. All of them can be summarized in one word: Resistance. A little girl refusing to wear her mask and kept taking it off, disregarding her mother’s several stern instructions. A woman on the phone, intensely refusing an offer to help her reconcile with her husband. The employee behind the desk refusing to listen to a man who in a monotone voice was trying to explain his unwillingness to wait his turn. At the time I was reading an invitation to virtual meeting on Zoom, thinking about how the pandemic has made this generation the witness to one of the most peculiar and unprecedented situations.
It is a fact that we cannot control the pandemic, not yet at least, and are stifled watching the death tolls rise. We stand spellbound watching the dramatic change to our daily life that reminds us of our physical fragility. The majority are isolated from friends, others suffer the loss of loved ones, but we all feel the economic insecurity due to the pandemic that has wreaked havoc on all of our plans. All this has encouraged resistance, which is defined as the refusal to change. Subconsciously, we quickly tend to say “no”, rejecting any and all new ideas.
The novel reality left us wondering about the future, and also of who we are. We resist wearing masks though this might save us, gather in groups — a behavior that might kill us — and neglect distancing. All these are indicators of a strong denial of reality that accompanies traumatic circumstances. If it continues, it will result in not adapting to the new circumstances, and consequently give way to the invisible ghoul we need to recognize in order to overcome: Resistance.
To survive such turmoil, we should start thinking differently to reconnect and reconcile with our emotions, accepting our feelings and the circumstances around us, as difficult as they may be, and taking comfort in knowing that the majority of the world is in the same boat.
Thankfully, many people succeeded in making use of modern technology to reach out to others virtually, which I personally rejected at first. I have rejected many virtual meetings since the beginning of the pandemic, including several where I was the main speaker. But later, I realised that retreating into a personal shell and waiting for the pandemic to end would not help at all. Our mood and state of mind affect people around us and acceptance of the new reality is the key to dealing with difficult conditions. Resilience is being self-aware and intelligent in dealing with circumstances. It does not stop there; it moves to reach out to others, understanding their need for encouragement. Regrettably, loneliness, fear, insecurity, and abandonment are common feelings now.
Among the many lessons learnt since the start of this pandemic is the fragility of our human race, and our great need to lean on each other. Moving from resistance to resilience gives rise to a modest but sincere call to remember that we have a common bond that unites us, that we all breathe the same air and walk under the same sun, as brothers and sisters in humanity.