This line was from the famous book “Love at the time of cholera”. The book talked about how love can be as painful and deathly as the said disease. In the present time, the Corona Virus has taken over. And with its increased fatality and the terror it has brought, choosing love over the survival of the fittest would most likely remain to be the second choice for some.
We heard it on the news – the look of disgust over people coughing (Chinese particularly) on the outbreak of Covid-19, the panic-buying and hoarding of food and medical supplies, the bashing of political strategies, the ingenuity of public service, the hate posts all over social media… the list goes on.
It was inevitable, especially during this time when doing anything – even our daily routine – has been a challenge. With all the lockdown/ quarantine, chaos, and confusion, all our ways are geared into one goal – to survive. And our vulnerability to our overwhelming emotions as humans could tend to resort to unkind or insensitive actions.
On the contrary, our being able to feel emotions – both positive and negative – is also one of our powers as humans. Emotions play a huge role in our tactics and decision-making and push our minds and bodies to take action. When used right, our emotions can help us survive.
Every day, all that we see and hear gives us the roller-coaster-ride-emotions. In one second, I’d be guilt-stricken for not being able to spend more time with my family and relatives. In another, I’d feel grateful and contented knowing that I’m finally with my son. For a minute, I’d cry reading all the updates and sad stories shared by the frontliners and from those who were directly affected. In another, I’d be laughing at the memes and Tiktok videos. I remember I spoke with a leader in our business unit one day, and he mentioned how he admires Filipino’s ability to sing in the rain.
That ability, that resiliency, has proven its dominance in the various adversities that we have faced. There may be times when we chose to attack during fight or flight situations, but the resilient part in us who opted to embrace first was oftentimes the one that emerged victoriously. This is the version that we need to be at this time of Corona: the one that bends, not breaks; the one that lets go, but rebounds; the one that accepts the situation, but controls the consequence.
And this version, for me, cannot exist without love. For me, love is the greatest resilience. And as opposed to the lines from the book, knowing how to love is something we can learn. More than ever, this is the time to look after each other and to treat everyone with compassion, no matter how stoic of a person we may be since birth. Resiliency stems from compassion and gratitude. The Dalai Lama says, “a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” Sounds too ideal, I know, but as humans, we can choose how to act and feel.
So how do we love at this time of Corona?
I like Greenpeace’s 11 ways to care for each other during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. I find its alternatives to hugging useful, especially for someone like me whose language of love is physical touch. And there are the ones we’ve already heard: social distancing, stopping racism and fake news, and yes, thorough washing of hands. “Flatten the curve!” should be everyone’s mantra now.
I also like the Mindful Speech. And I must admit, this is something I’m sincerely sorry for the times I failed to remind myself. Before we say or post something online, let’s ask ourselves these questions first:
If it’s not, let’s ask ourselves: what is our purpose in telling a lie?
It may be true, but is it helpful for the situation? Do we need to say it now? Are we able to choose the right words to communicate our thoughts clearly?
It may be true and necessary, but are we considering the feelings of others?
What a kinder world would it be if all of us will be more aware of how we say and act out our emotions, don’t you think? With this ongoing pandemic, spreading love and sharing our humanity have never been outdated. As I always say, love more, forgive more. Aimer plus que l’amour même.
The Enhanced Community Quarantine in some places will be over in a few weeks. Sooner or later, this Pandemic will be over, too. Until then, let’s continue to love everything that keeps us going: it may be our job, our friends and family, our community, our country, our Earth – these serve as the reasons for our being, our fuel to be resilient, and our motivation to help ourselves and to choose humanity. I’m sure we will ultimately get through – stronger, lovelier, kinder and bolder.
Stay loved and blessed!