While most of us may look at the COVID-19 virus as something that has changed our lives negatively, and turned it upside down, it has nonetheless, taught us many things. For better or for worse, it has built our character in a certain way. And as cliche as it sounds, whatever life throws our way will always be an opportunity from which to learn. Perhaps the pandemic isn’t the every-day change we’re used to, but there were still many lessons from it. So, for the sake of taking a more positive, yet equally authentic spin on the virus’ effect on us, here are 19 lessons we have learned through our experiences with it.
How to be alone
Being alone isn’t something many of us enjoy. For some of us, being alone is intolerable or uncomfortable, as we aren’t okay with who we are. As the virus pushed us to isolate ourselves, it has taken away from any distractions that can allow us to escape ourselves, and further forced us to find comfort in being alone.
How to get to know ourselves
In a similar way, the isolation inflicted upon us has forced many of us to reflect and get to know ourselves a little bit more. By spending time alone, we have grown familiar with who we are and what we’re all about. Even though this familiarity may feel uncomfortable, it is definitely an opportunity for us to learn aspects of our personality we would not have otherwise known.
How to discipline ourselves
Left to our own devices, we often fail to be aware of certain destructive behaviors, and further be able to control them. For example, having classes online may not be a sufficient stimulant to wake us up. Not having to see anyone may be a sufficient reason for us not to brush our teeth or shower in the morning. The pandemic taught us to do what is best for us, to control our impulses, and to discipline our behaviors, despite no one being there to witness it, or tell us to do it.
How to take care of ourselves
Being stuck at home for days often serves as an opportunity for us to neglect ourselves, both mentally and physically. When there is no one there to keep us occupied, to comfort us, we were forced to do that ourselves.
How to sacrifice
This is a crucial one. Every time we went out was an opportunity to get our loved ones sick. Often, we had to choose between a tempting outing, and the risk that held on our parents’ health, per se. Even though the choice to make may be an obvious one for most, it is still a sacrifice worthy of note. And it is by learning to be okay with letting go of things we really want, that we have nurtured that strength of character in our lives.
How to listen
We don’t mean listen in the sense of literally hearing someone else speak, but in noticing your surroundings everywhere we go – be it people or things. When most of our daily distractions are gone; the noise in the streets, the music in parties, the discussions between our friends, we are forced to listen. To notice every little thing, and give it our full and undivided attention, because we have nothing “better” to do.
How to tolerate uncertainty
This one’s a personal favorite. Uncertainty is unbearable for a lot of us. Not knowing what the future holds, not having control, and not having a grasp of where life is taking us. This is incredibly uncomfortable, because it’s this “control” that makes us feel safe. The pandemic is the opposite of certainty, it is the unknown. To this day, no one really knows where we’re headed towards. But we’ve learned to grow accustomed to that, to go with the flow, and to do our very best to embrace this uncertainty, rather than let it destroy us.
How to deal with boredom
Many of us need to be stimulated most of the time. We need to be excited, driven. There had to be some sort of “high.” Sitting in our rooms for days not doing much in terms of “excitement,” was an unfamiliar experience. But, we’ve learned to make the most of it, and to find some sort of stimulus within the little things, such as reading a book or watching a mediocre TV show.
How to be grateful
Whether it’s going out to restaurants, bars, cinemas, or being able to attend school in-person, we all took these privileges for granted. As soon as we lost them, we learned what it’s like to be able to go out in the street with no restrictions. And we also learned to realize, that anything we have could be taken away from us, so we must appreciate it while it lasts.
How to make the most with what we’ve got
This is a problem-solving skill. One of the most important things the pandemic taught us is how to make it work, rather than complain about it for not doing so. Finding a way to provide the same level of education as best we can online, or celebrate a birthday within the limitations set on us, these are some of the many things we were forced to figure out a way around.
How to be resilient
Resilience is a characteristic that makes us stronger and more ready to face life on its own terms. By getting up every time we fall down, because we have no other choice but to, we have learned how to be resilient, how to walk through the storm. Now, with or without the virus, we are far more capable of dealing with hardships, and difficult circumstances.
How to adapt
The virus changed the way by which we lived our lives. We were forced to live in a different way, an unaccustomed one. And through that, we have learned how to manage our lives within these constraints, and find a way to work our way around it.
How to be hopeful
By learning to be grateful, we have learned how to be hopeful. It’s beautiful to hope. It’s an opportunity to put our faith in the universe and hope for the best. And as much as the virus has taught us how to find acceptance within our restrictions, it has also made us hopeful that they will go away.
How to focus on what matters
When things fell apart, we were forced to hold on to the ones that mattered the most. Whether it’s our families who gave us unconditional love, our genuine friends that only wanted what’s best for us, or generally the things in life that were truly important to us. When we realized that life could drastically change at any point, we were again forced to realize which things we’d like to keep and hold on to the most.
How to live life to the fullest
Living life to the fullest is one of the most cliched phrase you’ll probably ever hear, but it’s equally true. Before the pandemic, most of us took everything we had access to for granted. It was only after this was taken away from us, that we realized how much we loved all of it. However, we shouldn’t appreciate things only after they go away. And it is through the pandemic that we learned how to embrace every opportunity we have, as if it were the last one.
How to empathize
When everyone in the world is going through the exact same experience, it becomes a universally shared one. And empathy comes with that. Whether it’s getting bored, frustrated, feeling empty, sad, or simply getting sick with the virus, different individuals can empathize and further help each other, by sharing these experiences with one another, knowing exactly what it’s like.
How to accept
Acceptance is key to being okay with where you’re at. The presence of the virus gave us two choices: to deny it or to accept it. However, after it extended its welcome, many of us realized that we had to find a way to be okay with it, and to find peace within that storm. And for those who did, will welcome anything life throws their way with open arms, because if they’ve withstood the pandemic, they are likely to withstand anything else.
How to love
Love ourselves. Love other people. And love life. COVID-2019 has given us all forms of love, all of which have and will take us to many places. And we hope that one of these places is one where we will look at the world differently, yet love it just the same.