In these past few months, we have bared witness to man’s response when unthinkable, life-altering events transpire. We have seen the immense love and empathy we can have for one another when every man, woman, and child finds themselves under a common state of duress. We set aside our differences, displace our personal struggles from being top priority, and become more understanding of others’ circumstances. We do these things because, at last, we share a common understanding. The isolating labels of “we” and “them” are cast aside, and all that is left is “us”. What we have observed is this, under common distress, man becomes one.
This is not the first time the human race has faced an unforeseen and unknown obstacle; however, it is a time where we are able to impact the lives of others in ways like never before. At last, the power of social media has given us the ability to stretch our arms and hands to those across the globe in hopes of reassurance. Reassurance that not a single person has to go it alone. We are all scared of what we do not understand, taking things day by day. Even in this shared time of uncertainty we find solace in uplifting words, pictures, personal narratives, and the fundamental understanding that every being, in all corners of the earth, shares in the validity of one another’s struggles.
Despite difficult circumstances there is an innate desire in all of us to care for and invest time in others. Even when we are at our lowest, we have hope in beating the odds; the only way to overcome any adversity as a human race is to lift those around us to the best of our abilities. We can witness this in even the smallest of ways from fitness instructors going live on Instagram to continue teaching classes to anyone willing to tune in, to tear-jerking memes about social distancing and adapting to work-from-home life. All of these examples curated in an attempt to help the masses seeking some kind of normalcy amidst this time where nothing is in fact normal. There is nothing normal about self-quarantine, but while enduring it together, we find ourselves adapting as one.
Very seldom are our actions “influenced” to create a cascading effect far bigger than ourselves for the greater good, but this is what we see more often than not during times such as these. The influence to listen and stay indoors to protect the health of those around us; the influence to help struggling small businesses that are feeling the impact far more deeply than the big box stores; the influence to help our neighbors whether that be financially or simply by taking over an extra roll of toilet paper.
Does it take a pandemic for man to wake up and realize the common struggle of all mankind is not found only in times of a worldwide pandemic, but in everyday life? If only we could continue this kindness and empathetic perception of one another long after this obstacle resolves. What a world to live in where the needs and circumstances of others are recognized and acted upon accordingly. A world where we yearn to freely give and receive help from one another.
This is but one of many lessons learned during a time of shared struggle. When one is affected, all are affected through a ripple of outcomes. The time to come together is always present because we will all be going through something and personal struggles will not cease to weigh on us after this pandemic passes. If you are feeling alone in this, allow us to break this false state of mind and remind you that you are not alone in this. The power of loneliness and fear lose their grip on you when you reach out to others. There is power in numbers, there is love to go around, and there is understanding to be given. This is your sign to extend a hand and accept the hands that reach back out to you.
In honor of April being Keep America Beautiful Month, we're sharing 12 small acts to save and preserve our planet. In a world of over 7 billion people, it can seem like our small acts to save this planet don't make an impact in the grand scheme. This couldn't be further from the truth. The impact of no act can be predicted, big or small.