The whole world is presently on lockdown as several countries have closed their borders and mandated their citizens to stay in their homes in a bid to contain the corona-virus. The lockdown is happening on a scale never before seen and the frightening aspect of it is that no one can predict for certain when it will be over as current events seem to suggest the possibility that it may be extended beyond the initial periods anticipated.
The fact that we are locked up is an issue but added to the external turmoil are the uncertainties, fear and panic that come with the situation at hand. There is no doubt that our world is changing before our eyes and the fact is that, the world we will walk into when we leave our homes, will not the world we left. Life will change dramatically and drastically for some of us as we come to terms with the loss of family members, friends, investments, money and jobs.
There is no doubt that our relationships will change as a result of the amount of time being spent as it will bring lots of stuff to the fore, cause us much introspection and force us to take a good look at our relationships.
We are beginning to find many couples criticizing each other about small things, holding each other in contempt for their weaknesses and in general magnifying faults that could have otherwise been overlooked.
We have all seen those videos where people are beginning to speak out about the “excessive” behaviour of their partners or children – of women running out of their rooms complaining of their husband’s incessant demands for sex and their inability to cope, of women tearfully seeking refuge in their cars because of the pressure of having to be home 24/7 with their school-age kids, of children throwing tantrums because they cannot go out to play or eat out, of men discovering that their wives are not the good cooks or homemakers they thought them to be etc.
The first thing to understand is that isolation is not a bad thing. It’s noteworthy to state that isolation or being alone is not the same as being lonely. It is very possible to be with a group of people or even in a relationship and still find ourselves very lonely. Also, know that our relationships can benefit from this isolation process if we are careful to understand and take what it offers us out of it.
Benefits of isolation:
- The first thing isolation offers us is the gift of insight and clarity. It helps us to see things as they really are. Because there are no internal or external distractions, no opportunities for cover-ups, our minds and eyes see what was there all the time or what has evolved with time. We can use this time to assess ourselves and our relationships with our partners and children and know where they are at and what is going on in our/their lives.
- The second thing isolation offers us is an understanding of who we and our significant others are. It helps us to understand what triggers our emotions, our strengths and weaknesses, our limits and boundaries. For an extrovert, isolation can be most discomforting because they are not wired that way whilst for the introvert isolation can be a blessing as they do not feel the need to please others or be more socially expressive and accepted. It helps us understand why our partners behave the way they do and their coping mechanisms.
- Thirdly, isolation offers us the gift of honesty. It’s a time to admit to ourselves the state of our relationships and our person. Many times, even though we distract and tell ourselves lies, the truth lies in our subconscious and when we are alone with ourselves or one another it rises to the fore. Isolation whether by ourselves or with others exposes us, our partners or children for who we are. It tells an abused partner for example that their work or person is not the reason for the abuse, for the cheat it shows them that lack of sex is not the reason for the cheating.
- Fourthly, it helps to bring to light, solution, answers, direction and guidance. Because we have more time to ponder on issues, we can propound answers, seek advice, listen to our hearts and intuition and find light to our path or the strength to take the decisions that we know we should.
Tips to follow during this time of isolation.
- Create boundaries- boundaries help us to regulate our relationships with others and vice versa so let your significant other know what you like or do not like and more importantly the why’s of your likes and dislikes.
- Create space for one another- even though being together will be a good time to fellowship with one another, we must be mindful that we will all need alone times, so we must give each other the freedom to be by themselves and do the things they want to do without others and this includes our children also.
- Establish Routines- It may sound simple but establishing routines help bring a semblance of normalcy into our lives and helps us able to better deal with the things we cannot control. So, have a routine for the children, work, entertainment and family time.
- Be more understanding- we all react to crisis differently so be kind to your partner or children.
- Practice gratitude- there’s so much to be grateful for if we stop looking at what we don’t have. We should be grateful that even though we are together we are not lonely.
- Finally, I read somewhere that disaster is an accelerator of relationships. It either makes it better or worse, helps us see the reasons why we should cherish and strengthen it or reasons why we should get out of it.
May we all find meaning in our relationships when this is all over.