Human Connection--a Primal Need During Covid-19
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
People are wired for connection. It is our human imperative. With the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are now required to physically maintain our distance from each other, greatly impacting our basic primal need for connection. During these unprecedented times, how will this primitive social instinct ultimately be affected? Brain studies show that during times of conflict, fear blocks our capacity for empathy, negatively impacting our relationships. We may struggle with our partner when we fear their criticism or their silent withdrawal. It is natural to show anger or frustration instead of speaking to them about our fear. If only we could say to each other, “I’m scared. I’m hurt. I’m lonely.” If we expand this idea further and apply it to what we are all facing now, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, we must ask ourselves: How do we deal with our fears about what is happening? How do we process our communal grief over the loss of so many souls? What do we do if we are physically and/or emotionally apart from those we love?
With so much human tragedy happening daily, the clouds seem to have lost all of their silver linings. What can we say that is encouraging? In a time when we are being told to maintain our physical distance from each other, we are learning that connection is possible in other ways. We are adapting. It's becoming increasingly imperative to be present for each other, in order to support our world-wide efforts to protect those who are most vulnerable and susceptible to the virus. In protecting ourselves, we are responsive and protective towards others. We are learning that in fact, humans are interconnected in invisible ways lasting beyond moments of physical connection. Whatever we touch will be touched by others. We cannot not be affected by each other. We are one people and no better than anyone else. This is true across borders, race, ethnicity, religions, beliefs, and political affiliations. So, when our day-to-day lives must happen in smaller spaces and with fewer people, we must look to those who we can connect to, either physically or digitally, set aside our differences, and open our hearts to all that makes us similar. In order to learn from each other, we must first sit compassionately and listen. In order to nurture each other, we must be willing to be vulnerable and share our hopes and fears.
At the end of the day, what matters most in life comes down to love, and ultimately feeling supported by those whom you love--especially during times of great need. This is why the human species is so hardwired for longing for a deep and meaningful human connection. Ultimately, without human connection, we cannot know or understand love. And without love, we ultimately lose the connection to the world around us and become lost. When you feel isolated or alone, scared or disconnected, find someone to tell. Find one person and take a risk. Open up to them and say something like: “I’m scared. I’m feeling lonely. I’m sad.” When we reach for someone from a place of vulnerability, we make it safe enough for them to really see and respond to us in a caring way, ultimately allowing for a deeper and more meaningful human connection.
Dr. Sam Jinich, Ph.D.