An unfortunate casualty of the constantly busy lives that we all have created, is the lack of true connection with people due to not wanting to ‘take up peoples time.”
Our circles are getting smaller, quality time getting shorter, and allowing ourselves the time and space to connect with others seems fewer and farther between.
We find ourselves apologizing for asking questions or talking about ourselves and our lives for more than a second without feeling like we are rambling or taking up space.
This issue has become compounded by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now we are more isolated than ever, and when we do find ourselves with the perfect storm of mental energy, time, and opportunity to connect with someone, we have no idea what we are even allowed to talk about! Politics? Mask policies? Deaths within our circle? Or any of the other millions of ways that all of our lives have changed this year. Its so easy to not want to share any aspect of your life as to not offend or seemingly starting some type of trauma/tragedy comparison with someone.
It becomes so important to not only justify, acknowledge and empathize with others and the conflicts they face in their own life, but to not discount your own. It is so easy to feel guilt, shame, or sadness when we start to compare our lives with others. Comparison has always been an evil thief of joy and contentment, but it has taken on an entirely new form during this pandemic.
Now instead of comparing our material possessions, income, vacation photos, ambition, etc., we find ourselves comparing the levels to which we and others have been emotionally, financially, or physically affected by the massive amounts of hurdles that have come out of 2020.
For the first wave of COVID-19, we were fearful but optimistic. There is no way that this could last into the fall months, right?! We found ways to connect through virtual meetings and happy hours. The second wave is a different story. There is a heaviness in not knowing how long this will continue. Will life ever resemble some sense of normalcy? And If not, then how will we adapt to ensure that our lives are more than just working or sitting at home waiting for the other shoe to drop?
I am fearful that a society that was never the best at communication and fostering community and connection, is going to have a heck of a time recovering from the long-lasting effects of isolation, loneliness, guilt, depression, and fear.
Be present for each other.
Empathize with each other.
Apologize. Be vulnerable.
And for goodness sake, give yourself a break!