Positive Life Lessons of COVID-19
Updated: Jun 2
Genuine human connection only happens when we present our authentic imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance (Brene Brown).
Isn’t a genuine human connection what we all search for? That feeling of magic; that comforting feeling of being home when we are with those people? With the rise of social media and technology at times I have wondered whether our ability for true and genuine human connection has perished. I only needed to walk into a bar, restaurant, concert etc. and the vast majority of people are more involved with their phones than each other. I wondered whether we were losing the ability to connect with others in the true sense of the word.
Are we too engrossed in finding out how someone looks on a filtered social media photo or if an individual has liked my last post more than valuing and showing interest in the most important people who are sat right in front of me? Do we know how to build these relationships with real people? It seems that perhaps for some of us, it is much easier to present that false persona to the world when sitting behind a screen rather than presenting our authentic self. The true problem with this is that this persona is not real and the dangerous symptoms of low self-worth or even worse loneliness are present.
Like it or not, we are inherently social creatures. The recent slogans resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic such as “We can get through this together”, “We need each other”, could not ring truer. However this should be a permanent way of life, a message that doesn’t dissipate once we get through this pandemic.
Human connection is vital in maintaining our overall emotional and physical health. This has been evidenced in countless studies and a review of 148 studies which involved 308,849 participants demonstrated that those without social ties were more inclined to suffer from depression and cognitive decline. Those who had social ties were happier, had fewer health problems and lived longer. Another interesting fact when considering the importance of human connection and why we need this is to consider a finding by Dr Matthew Lieberman of UCLA who showed that social pain is interpreted by the brain in the same way as physical pain, our bodies react in the same way.
Below I have listed a few ways in which we can ensure that we are building genuine connections with others no matter whether this is sitting with another person or whether we are communicating over face time / Zoom or skype etc: -
1. Remembering and repeating someone’s name – for the individual this means that you’re not remembering a word; you’re remembering them.
2. Eye contact – using eye contact during conversations is a basic way of showing respect to that person through our nonverbal communication
3. 100% Focus – give the person you’re with 100% of your focus, make the person you’re with feel seen and listened to, make them feel valued.
4. Ask others for their opinion – you don’t have to agree but by asking for the other persons opinion you are demonstrating that you value what they have to say.
5. Listen – ask yourself, do you really, really listen? Pause and take time to consider what the person is saying. Conversations are not one-person performances. If we are competing against each other then we cannot connect.
6. Stay Humble – Value your connection to the other person more than being right.
Covid-19 has taught us all hard life lessons however I truly believe that out of something so awful we have to ensure we take some positive lessons. This pandemic has given us all time to reflect and consider what we truly value in life. For me it is genuine human connection and I hope that what I have witnessed in recent months continues. People reaching out to each other, supporting each other, showing acts of kindness and helping their neighbours has proven that the importance of human connection has not been forgotten and we do need each other. Sometimes we just need to talk, feel truly listened to and understood.