I am writing this blog to help myself and others grow stronger from the many pandemic challenges we are all facing. I believe we can learn something from most every experience, including one with a crazy virus. Some lessons are obviously more fun to learn than others—not that I was raised to believe that life is all about fun. I was raised to believe that life could throw some mean curve balls and that my job was to learn to become a good curveball hitter. My mom was the perfect pre-pandemic mother. She told me stories about her hardships as a girl during the Holocaust to nurture my resilience. My favorite Holocaust story as a boy was about how she woke up in a field next to a man who had frozen to death. I would sometimes ask at bedtime, “Could you tell me the story about the guy who froze to death?”
My mom’s childhood wasn’t normal and so my childhood wasn’t completely normal either. When I was younger, I had no idea that my upbringing might uniquely prepare me for the abnormal challenges of a pandemic crisis, but I think that it has had this effect in some ways. I have no doubt that we will get through this crisis together, as uncomfortable as it might make us feel at times. One lesson I learned early on is that we don’t always need to feel comfortable. We have the strength to deal with plenty of discomfort, inconvenience, change, and uncertainty. In other words, the coronavirus is just another curveball that we need to figure out how to hit.
I recall once seeing a bumper sticker that read: LIFE IS A TEAM SPORT. If this is true, then now is a time when our teamwork will be tested more than ever. As a psychologist, I want to do my part to help our team, not that you need to be a psychologist to know how to let go of fear. You just need to be a person who is patient and brave and washes your hands a zillion times a day. I keep encountering more and more brave people who make me believe that our courage will ultimately prove to be more contagious than this virus or our fear. I will try to do my part to spread courage by being honest, open, and human. As I sometimes tell my clients, I can’t promise that I will always be helpful, but I can promise that my heart will be in the right place.
Peace & Love,