New Normal//

How Easy, or Difficult, is it to Keep a Distance

Over one month of lockdown and we are none the wiser, or so it would seem from the regular reports of police action against lockdown violators. Is it merely indiscipline or a much bigger problem is lurking behind our failure to maintain social distancing during the Coronavirus crisis?

Illustration by Freepik
Illustration by Freepik

The sight of policemen constantly going after people who are forming groups and ‘socialising’ during these times of lockdown is quite common in a lot of localities across the country. There is a lot being said about people’s callous attitude, disobedience and unawareness of the gravity of the situation. 

However, I truly believe that this is a much deeper problem than mere disobedience and callousness. It is impossible that people wouldn’t be aware of the seriousness of the disease or the current situation; it is all over the news and on every social platform. What then could be the reason behind such behaviour? 

In my opinion, there are two important reasons: 

1) Over-proximity to near and dear ones

Many relationships in these times have stood the test of time and have been categorised as ‘successful’ not because of effort but because of status quo; because the family members are busy in their own lives, and usually come together to spend limited time with each other. In such a scenario, there is no scope for confrontation, having deeper and longer conversations if one doesn’t want to have them. But now, the scenario is totally different. 

With social distancing becoming mandatory, proximity with family members has become inevitable, making the distance in the relationship/s visible. Change is uncomfortable, and we seek to distract ourselves or avoid situations that require us to change. One of the ways of doing this is by taking the ‘familiar’ route of socialising with friends and acquaintances, in order to feel better. 

Once we are aware of the real problem, we can make a conscious choice—of facing it in the eye and dealing with it (through appropriate communication and action) or continue to avoid the situation by finding ways and means to do so, which could have hazardous consequences in the long run. 

2) Discomfort being with self 

There are loads of posts and articles out there that talk about the importance of self-love, of being self-aware, of spending time with self, and much more. People hit the ‘like’ button for these posts, but when it comes to practise, usually, nothing’s done. The prime reason is, we are usually never taught the importance of delving deeper within ourselves, knowing our deeper emotions, celebrating our journey so far. 

At times, we feel ashamed to admit to some of our shortcomings even to ourselves. We feel anxious of the consequences of thinking about our past mistakes and the emotional turbulence that comes with it. It’s easiest to blame another person, the society, the weather, the virus for our reactions, rather than delving deeper within ourselves and understanding what’s going on. So, we end up doing just that. We either binge-watch movies and series, or spend hours on video calls with friends, or sink ourselves into office work and household chores—and do whatever it takes to stay away from ourselves. 

But guess what, sooner or later, each one of us is going to be pushed to the wall where we will be left with no option but to ask those uncomfortable questions to ourselves, and befriend ourselves in order to deal with the external world. Therefore, why not begin today? It might help us adhere to the social distancing guidelines laid by the government too… 

Finally, I would like to say—make a conscious choice. Deal with the real problem, and as a consequence, you will be able to successfully distance yourself socially and make the lockdown period fruitful!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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