Covid-19 is HARD. It’s stressful in a whole new way, it’s messy, complicated and exhausting. It’s also lonely.
I’ve been thinking about that last one for a bit, now. Why would I feel lonely when, I of all people, have needed to get out and see clients and have been able to spend time with close family and neighbors? I’ve been able to socialize and satisfy a piece of my extrovert. So, why do I have periods of loneliness?
In my processing of this, I turned to an old friend, who I often turn to, Brene Brown. If you haven’t heard of her, she is a pretty famous author, research scientist and story teller. She also does not know we’re friends. I love Brene Brown because she is so smart, that she can take complicated concepts and put them in language that resonates with me. One of those concepts is “Holding Hands with Strangers”.
In her book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the courage to Stand Alone, Brene talks about Holding Hands with Strangers and Collective Assembly. Think about the last time you gave a random stranger a compliment and how that felt. Think about the last time you helped a stranger, for no other reason than that they needed help. Those are examples of holding hands with strangers. Think about the last concert, church service, funeral, wedding or any gathering where everyone was there for, basically, the same reason. That is collective assembly or collective emotion. Holding hands with strangers and collective assembly feed my soul in so many ways and eliminate loneliness, even though I did not have words for them until a few years ago. They feed my soul and they are largely absent from our world right now.
Could someone wave their magic wand and make this pandemic stop? No? No one? Hello?
It’s not going to stop and not going to go away for a long time. So, how do we achieve holdings hands with strangers and collective assembly amidst a pandemic? I think there are ways. First, we can still hold hands with strangers (not physically, please don’t try this, especially not now). If you are going out at all, even if it is only to the grocery store, look for ways to help, compliment, to be in touch with other humans. Bet it feels good when you do it.
Collective assembly is a little bit harder. Look for opportunities to join gatherings with a common purpose, even if it is virtually. It doesn’t feel quite the same, but it is a start.
I would love to hear about your experience with these concepts and if you are having any luck with them. And, I for one, cannot wait to be back in large gatherings and telling strangers that I love their nails.