Grappling with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world can seem pretty grim. We are in a constant state of disbelief while hoping for good news, but more often than not we are filled with a sense of helplessness. Still, countless acts of kindness and goodness are taking place everywhere. And although the world has changed it is important to remember that people are still kind, generous and caring at heart.
As some parts of the world begin to ease stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, it’s insightful to reflect on how people have reacted to the past three months of lockdown. Here are just a few of the positives demonstrating the best in people as a whole.
1. Healthcare workers are the true superheroes
Doctors, nurses, caregivers, first responders and all of the workers on the front lines who have put their own lives at risk to help others — these are the people who deserve our utmost thanks and gratitude.
I’ve read numerous stories about healthcare workers who left their husbands, wives and children behind to volunteer their services at New York City’s hardest hit hospitals. Despite facing the grave risk to their own lives, they knew that patients needed help as did the healthcare workers who were falling ill themselves.
Talk about being a real Super Hero? To these men and women who offered the ultimate sacrifice, saying “thank you” is not enough.
2. Acts of altruism can be found everywhere
Hardly a day has gone by where we haven’t heard about someone’s willingness to help others and to be selfless at a time when most people are thinking of their own safety and well being.
Instead of exhibiting a “me first” mentality, we have witnessed many acts of generosity from our neighbors and friends; from assisting the elderly with grocery shopping to volunteering at a food bank. Each of those acts has not only benefitted the recipients of their efforts but has served as an inspiration and a call to action to others.
While these acts of altruism are nothing new, the pandemic that we are all experiencing on a global level has inspired scores of people to be involved in ways they never dreamed possible. Suddenly the obstacles of time and money have been removed and people who have never volunteered before are devoting their time, energy and resources to this precious human act.
3. We’re getting to know one another — again
Ironically, while the act of social distancing is keeping us apart in many cases it has brought us closer together with our own families, friends and colleagues.
With couples often apart during the day at their respective jobs, and children off at school, modern families typically have had a minimal amount of daily interaction. But now, under lockdown, families are together virtually all of the time — and growing to appreciate one other in a whole new light.
Parents and their children are enjoying bonding moments over home cooked meals, family movie nights, and even home schooling. People have found alternative ways to have “happy hour” through telephone calls and Zoom video meetings.
The saying, “We’re all in this together,” has taken on new meaning and relevance as we move through these days, weeks and months together. The unity and warm feelings that many people are now feeling have opened up a conversation that may not have otherwise occurred. And, one wonders: Will these unique experiences continue or will this collective happening of unity be forgotten?
I’d like to remain optimistic that life as we knew if will be forever changed by this experience of togetherness and introspection, and that we will all emerge will a clearer appreciation for our lives and this world.
Perhaps the experience of social distancing will ultimately help us all realize how important we are to one another and why humans have a deep, innate need to share experiences. It is true that people who are more connected lead happier, healthier lives. Now we know why.