“Today is one of those days when I could restore myself to the default factory settings” (Anon)
It is easy to feel negative, anxious and disgruntled, especially at a time when worldwide the COVID-19 virus is on the rampage again. The pandemic has pulled the rug out from under our feet, disrupted life as we previously experienced it and negatively impacted health and livelihoods everywhere. All the indicators reveal that it is not yet done wreaking havoc – it seems that it is going to be with us for some time.
One of the biggest challenges facing all of us is retaining some sense of sanity and wholeness in this mess – a mess in terms of anxiety and fear, depleted resources, strained relationships, loss of loved ones, alienation, relational distance, insecurity, etc. This is particularly true when we don’t have helpful encouragement at our disposal. Some governments are attempting to protect and care for their citizens – many unfortunately are failing dismally. Many companies are doing their best to support employees at this time and should be lauded for their efforts. There are perhaps hundreds of millions of people across the world, however, that are not on the receiving end of any form of care and support. They just have to get through all of this on their own – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Besides the basic necessities of life (food and clean water, shelter and clothes), people need hope and a reason for existence. They need to experience the value that they can offer and gradually grow self-esteem. I use the word “experience” because pop psychology can’t instil a sense of real value. Real value is understood fully when a human being experiences the impact that his/her life has on others. It is knowing that your contribution counts. It is realising that your life matters and that you can make a difference. It is expressing your giftedness and reaching out to others meaningfully.
Although I often feel like resetting, restoring myself to default factory settings doesn’t take away life’s challenges and, besides, I would have to learn life’s lessons all over again if I went back to default mode – what a horrible thought! In this pandemic, we have to face each day purposefully and do our best to contribute into the lives of others. As we so do, we alleviate the pain that others may be feeling and benefit from experiencing our own real value at the same time.
Genuine care expressed to others equals some perceived growth of personal value and self-worth. It does take courage to “hang yourself” out there, but the rewards are typically exponential. Caring for others starts binding a broken society together. It gives people the hope that they desperately need to survive in these difficult times.
Remember, in the words of Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying: ‘I will try again tomorrow’”. Keep attempting to give of yourself – you will get so much in return and, furthermore, you will start to understand your reason for existence.