Updated: May 31, 2020
"You always gain by giving love"
The human race is contending with COVID19 and currently we have no vaccine. The virus attacks the most vulnerable of society and can be spread by people who have no idea they have it. It's a virus that can be seen as both harmless and deadly, yet because of its ability to spread rapidly it has the capability to bring the whole world to a stand-still. The contradictions and uncertainty caused by this paradoxical virus almost seems to be endless. Yet, one thing the virus cannot contend with is our capability to love one another!
Humans are perhaps as paradoxical as this virus, our greatest strength is our capacity to love, but our greatest weakness is our capacity to destroy. But, what if we combined these two traits? What if we were able to embrace our greatest strength and weakness and love each other to the destruction of the virus?
Why is love the antidote for COVID19?
Here’s 5 reasons why I believe, 'All you need is love':
1) Safety: Love for each other right now will provide the greatest source of protection, why? Because we are relying on all of society to protect people through physical-distancing and the majority of society to sustain and support the shielding of the vulnerable. By asking ourselves who do I love enough to protect and shield, then put into action what is necessary to live our lives in this way, we can truly demonstrate love for others and keep each other safe.
2) Quality of Life: It will be a challenge for us all, to maintain a quality of life that fosters resilience and happiness at this time. Physical connectivity is severely limited to people within households, and social connectivity is restricted for all to digital solutions. There is very little inclusivity in this for people, and put simply, it adds a 'new stress' that people have to find solutions for on top of everything else. However, as we find ways to express kindness and love for others, we have an opportunity to be potentially more connected than we have been as a race for some time. As we look for; random acts of kindness, opportunities to serve our neighbours and chances to express love, we can improve not just our own quality of life, but that of other people. Connectivity is closely linked with self-worth, confidence, commitment, gratitude, mental health, emotional wellbeing even our immunity. In fact, some research suggests people who are most connected with healthy relationships may live longer.
3) Pandemic Management: As governments look for strategies and tactics to manage the human race through this pandemic, we can play our part by loving each other enough to contribute, being the best citizens, we can be. Ultimately the pandemic has to be managed by balancing resources against the need for 'herd immunity', and by eventually achieving 'herd immunity'. To do this, National lockdowns are crucial and we may experience more than one before the virus is completely under control. Ultimately the success of the pandemic management comes down to how successful we can be in taking personal responsibility for our own actions. Changing our behaviours, lifestyle and maybe even sacrificing livelihoods for the greater good is more straight forward when motivated by love.
4) Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing: From a global epidemic, to a global pandemic mental health and emotional wellbeing is an ongoing concern during this COVID19 crisis. However, is it possible that conquering COVID19 with intentional focus on love for one another, and for ourselves, could well be the antidote for mental health, as well as emotional wellbeing. This pandemic crisis presents an incredible opportunity to practice self-love and love for others in a way that has desperately been absent from our local, national and international communities for some time. As we practice love in this way, we can look to understand others experiences, listen to their challenges and truly find ways to empower others to learn, change and grow, so that they can optimise their mental health, as opposed to settling with struggling or worst giving up. How can we reach out with love to educate, inspire and lift up the minds that hang low at this time?
5) Growth: For too long Local, National and International communities and governments have been at war with each other. With so much focus on being better than everybody else, we have forgotten how to truly grow with and because of our neighbours. On a micro and macro level global self-interest and competition has become a disease that is destroying far more lives than COVID19 is doing. Poverty, social displacement, wars, corruption, abuse, prejudice and much more have swept across our human race like plagues. Globally we have brought our whole lives to a stand-still, to bring an end to this virus, yet, we have continued to live, some have even profited on the back of so much grief and pain caused from much more significant society-based diseases. What if we can all take stock during this period to really ask ourselves, what is most important? How much do we love our fellow-citizens? and what are we prepared to give up in order to grow with and because of our neighbours. I understand the ‘utopian ideology’ of this, but does that make it wrong? Love for others means we relinquish scarcity mindsets, we embrace abundance mentalities, we edify our neighbours, we educate and empower, we enable and encourage, we create opportunities and inspire participation, we comfort during adversity, we celebrate times of success and rejoice together in each other’s progress.
I understand, that for many of us, we will read this and think, well that would just be lovely, wouldn't it, and then we will say the ship-sinking words "But, it will never happen". What we will not realise in that moment, is that all of this only happens, as one person looks to change one person; themselves. In like-manner the virus that started with one person, and then spread to another, and then to another etc. Our taking personal responsibility and changing towards love being used to conquer COVID19 will spread to another, and then to another, and so on.
When I work with business, schools and teams etc. I will often say "You fix the person, you fix the organisation", why? because organisations are run by individuals. Personal responsibility is the most powerful weapon we have right now, and we can choose to sharpen our metaphorical swords in a way we might never have done before, and in a way that will make us deadly to the virus. How? By increasing our commitment to loving others, practicing love for ourselves and intentionally striving every day to take ‘personal responsibility’, as a single act of love for everyone else.
"You always gain by giving love", perhaps at this time, this statement has never been truer! In the words of Charles Hart and Don Black; "Love, love changes everything: how you live and how you die... Love will never ever let you be the same!" At this time, the most powerful weapon we have at our disposal is love for ourselves and others, it’s a weapon that cannot be taken from us without us giving it up. It is a counter-strategy that is inclusive and far more powerful than anything else. It is also a counter-strategy that empowers health-carers, scientists, medical researchers, educators, leaders and many other key workers to do their absolute best in reducing the effects of this pandemic crisis.
Timothy Pattenden BSc; MSc
Performance Psychologist | Emotional Intelligence Specialist | Co-Founder of EPIC 4LIFE