The pandemic taught us an important lesson, remember it and your life will never be the same
With the holiday season fast approaching, is this the kind of picture you hope to be taking? Or one like it with the people you love? Me too. No grandchildren, but I'll definitely be making deliberate choices based on my values and self-awareness of what positively impacts my happiness and well-being.
For many, (maybe you?) Covid was the first time that a set of circumstances separated you from the people and experiences you usually enjoyed. Long before Covid, life gave me some of those same chances to learn a method that consistently improves my mental health and happiness.
While difficult, experiencing separation and the self-awareness it creates for you is actually a gift you can use anytime life throws you off your usual path. A gift that won't just benefit you, but all those you care about. How? Simply because you understand at a deeper level what happiness is and how it's most likely to appear in your life.
Martin Luther King knew this, as he says,
Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.
It's a funny thing, isn't it? That it's when we take the focus off ourselves and put it on others, we actually feel better.
Do you remember during Covid the stories of how people, sometimes strangers to each other, showed up and tried to make a difference?
From shopping for the elderly to neighborhood driveway concerts. Covid reminded us of our need for each other and a desire to break out of our solitary and small existence to see who was around us.
It inspired us to see how we could make a difference and sometimes that was as simple as making time for a conversation. With all the normal activities stopped, those became a necessity for those of us on our own.
My evening walks with a neighbour became my happiness lifeline. He didn't need to include me on his evening dog walks, but he did. Just like I made time for my elderly landlady.
Making time, connecting, and doing for others became part of more conversations for more than just those who work within social services. Suddenly, it became a topic that everyone could identify with. As author Pierro Ferrucci notes in his book - The Power of Kindness : The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life
....those who think of others, take part in their lives, try to alleviate their suffering and feel linked to them are most likely to be happy and to discover the inestimable treasure of joy.
As you get set to experience a more normal holiday season, there's an opportunity to reflect on your past experiences and decide, on a deeply meaningful level, what difference you want to create. Not just for you but for your family, your neighbors, and your community. What actions could you continue that you started during the pandemic that would make a difference to others?
Yes, it is the season of goodwill, but moving forward, as you face new challenges and opportunities, wouldn't it be great to have a method in place that will see you through it all? For all the disruption and heartache that the pandemic has caused, wouldn't it be wonderful if a long-term effect was newfound care for each other? When you're out and about, consider how you might make a difference to others. Big or small, you'll find your efforts will improve the lives around you and increase your happiness as you do.