By Shaveta Nayyar Dham
Author, Educator, Social Entrepreneur
Two years back, I remember making my company presentation “VISION 2020”and today it all seems irrelevant. For many of us, 2020 has been a year of loss- ‘loss’ that has made us feel insignificant, ‘loss’ that has created a deep void, ‘loss’ that has distanced human touch and embrace, ‘loss’ that encompassed not only environmental destruction, but this time it was the destruction of the world “with-in”. We felt a roller coaster of emotions inside that was difficult to manage and settle.
Pandemic brought with it not only economic and financial losses to all, but also deep emotional crisis in humanity as never seen before. This emotional crisis led to mental health issues, weakening physical health, sickness in all forms etc. Pandemic forced relations to distance themselves for survival, to be in isolation leading to unprecedented damage to health. Fear driven life became the new normal where domestic violence, divorces, suicides, and other mental health diseases became a part of our incongruent survival.
According to the official data of the National Commission for Women (NCW), domestic violence complaints have increased by 2.5 times since the nationwide lockdown began in India.Emerging data from various NGOs shows an increase in calls globally to domestic violence helplines in many countries since the outbreak of COVID-19.As per the media reports Suicides related to the COVID-19 outbreak in India have gone up clearly indicating the state of emotional and psychological health crisis.
All forms of psychology-clinical, developmental, forensic, health etc came forth to deal with something never seen before – human emotional crisis that changed behaviors, mindsets etc. The increased rate of suicides in India shows a deep fear, fear of survival, fear of death, fear of the unknown. According to Indian Express article – “WHO reports that close to eight lakh people die due to suicide each year, and for every suicide, there are many others who make an attempt. It’s the third leading cause of death in 15 to 19 year olds, and 79 per cent of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.”
Behavior patterns, emotional rage etc redefined humans during pandemic. Covid -19 led to an emotional tsunami everywhere. Broken marriages, relationships, finished careers, destroyed businesses led to deep emotional outburst. More than ever people felt emotions like never before-anger, fear, disgust etc that needed attention. Thus, our survival completely became dependent not only on physical immunity but also our emotional immunity.
Many of us have stories that changed our lives forever. These stories of life and death have rebuilt our “self” and challenged our emotions. These stories and experiences have today defined a beginning of a new decade, a new way to characterize “being human”. Our sense of “self” now had to be looked upon from these stories and experiences that became a significant part of our lives.
Personally, in 5 months I saw 5 deaths in my family. This made me experience pain, anger, helplessness – everything that I cannot explain. It was for me an experience unforgettable and felt deep emotional turmoil. There were times I felt completely abandoned. However, at times one needs to keep the outside tough to keep going, while inside, it’s an emotional whirlwind that just doesn’t settle.
I heard many other stories of deep emotional loss from people- someone lost a child, someone lost her beloved, someone lost her parents, someone lost his sisteretc and it goes on. More than ever, the entire world is in deep emotional loss, a crisis that requires profound sensitivity to reboot humanity.
2020 became a year of emotional evolution. Pandemic re-established the meaning of “relationship”. Talking through mobiles and computers to all our near and dear ones became a routine. Artificial intelligence slinked into our lives making human a machine that had all gadgets attached to it- mobile, laptop, gaming station, Bluetooth etc . We managed to connect via internet to all our relations.
This new way of living created waves of uncertainty in human relationship. Many realized that online relationships don’t work beyond a certain point. Many also realized the need to be together in-spite of being online. While some made new online friends, for others someone is an online friend or not, became insignificant. I know people who completely gave a break to social media and disconnected for a while. There were also who were hooked onto it as never before.
Thus, positive emotions like love, faith, hope, trust became a dominant part making humans feel the essence of humanity. All of us at this point were only going through a deep emotional involvement with oneself and others. It is strange that today pandemic has made us stand at a vantage point from where we need to understand that nature and humanity stands above the rest. One cannot neglect feelings and emotions in the path of life development.
On routine basis where on one side emotions bridged some gaps and, on another side,these emotions caused serious impact breaking many relationships. To be able to manage such emotional instability became challenging. We all questioned our deep hidden emotions, feelings, desires etc.
To control and manage ourselves, we needed “Emotional Intelligence” as never before that helped us sail through our difficult times. Today, it is high time that we all realize the importance of developing emotional intelligence redefining our emotional wellbeing.
This year 2020, human beings have been more troubled emotionally. Humans have been more focused on emotional relationships that gave affirmation to their sense of “being”. Philosophers like Aristotle and Plato certainly thought that the emotions are a fixture of human life that cannot be ignored. Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence writes, “If there is a remedy, I feel it must lie in how we prepare our young for life”
To deal with this emotional crisis, we need to consciously start a new movement of emotional sensitivity, a movement that makes humans aware of their own emotional wellbeing. More than ever, we need to start looking at our “emotional side” to make progress in life.
By Shaveta Nayyar Dham
(Founder- SargamZindagi Ki, An organization working with children to develop Emotional Intelligence)