How will you cope?

How will you choose to cope with the coronavirus crisis?

 

The coronavirus crisis is depressing and worrying for many people. No one remains unaffected by it. We are faced with challenging new circumstances with no time to prepare -financial uncertainty, loss of employment, inability to leave our home without good reason, concern for elderly relatives, social isolation. Quite literally, the end of life as we knew it!

 

So, what can we do to adjust our mental perspective to better deal with the challenges we face? Firstly, it’s worth remembering that everything in life is relative. We’re only as rich, lucky, successful, worthy and beautiful within the context of others we’re comparing ourselves with. Our living conditions and freedoms are relative too. Having recently read Viktor Frankl’s depiction of surviving Auschwitz, nothing life now throws at me seems too terrible. I’ve lost the freedom to leave my home when I want, I go to the supermarket to find empty shelves, I can’t see my elderly parents and I’m close to running out of toilet paper, but I’m living in luxury because it’s not Auschwitz!

 

Our satisfaction with what life has to offer is also very dependant on our ability to feel gratitude for what we have. There are countless highly successful and immensely wealthy people who lack gratitude and satisfaction with their lot. If you can’t appreciate what you have then you really have very little. Having food and freedoms taken away can have the effect of focusing our attention on what we’re left with. We can learn to be mindfully appreciative of smaller things we may previously have taken for granted. Abundance is not always a great thing, with it comes greedy ungratefulness.

 

Another of life’s great truths is that we never properly appreciate what we have until we lose it. Sometimes the loss will be permanent, but hopefully most of our losses caused by corona virus will be temporary.  When we get our freedoms and our toilet paper back, we will appreciate in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without the deprivation we’ve come through.

 

It is the case that many of us will suffer terrible losses in this crisis. Many people will die, many more will suffer grief and hardships, for most, life will be different in some ways. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, both during and after, we have choices as to how we will respond to our new set of circumstances.

 

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
― Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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