Just yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving and while some followed guidelines to keep themselves, their family and friends safe by not gathering, we know that some might have continued with family gatherings, travel and so on. As we now wait to see what our coronavirus repercussions might be. We also have time to contemplate how we as individuals can be part of the solution or part of the problem. Regardless of how you feel about this virus, it is very real. As it continues to flood into our community, many of us now know someone personally or maybe even you, has been impacted directly by this virus.
Your personal choices are either a part of the solution or the problem when it comes to the spread. It’s really that easy. How you act and what you choose to do can either help to slow the spread or increase it. The hard truth is, we are all faced with a choice right now to help, or to hurt our community.
Another hard truth, we are tired, burnt out and we are starting to lose our sunny outlook as the days literally get colder and darker. Some will use this as an excuse to do what they want and make reckless choices. We have to ask ourselves with each action we take: is it truly safe? Would it be worth it if someone got sick, or died? What if it spread to a school or nursing home? Would you want to be responsible for shutting down a whole school or multiple deaths?
How do we make the best choice possible for the greatest good? We ask ourselves if we “need” to do something, or we “want” to do something. For many the differential and understanding of these terms is very loose and almost dangerous. Some think any whim or inclination means they “need” to do something, while chances are, they just “want” to do it. If you must question your intentions or try to hide your actions, we think you probably know the answer – it’s “no.”
But just in case, let’s try to understand these terms from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary
1: necessary duty: OBLIGATION
2: a lack of something requisite, necessary, or useful
3: a condition requiring supply or relief
4: lack of the means of subsistence
1: DEFICIENCY, LACK
2: something desired: NEED, WISH
3: personal defect: FAULT
As we look at these terms, we can see that a “need” is something with obligation, a necessity and useful, whereas a “want” is more of a desire or wish.
When we look at the major cause that is spreading this virus, it’s almost always coming down to social gatherings. We can understand this because as humans we crave social engagement, but on a humane level, these gatherings can quite frankly be downright deadly, irresponsible and wrong. This leaves us to try to understand where we can choose if something is “needed” and must happen, or is it something we “want,” but could wait.
As mentioned before, we have a true desire to be social, and for some, the inability to see loved ones and friends may start to feel like a “need” because of isolation. But right now, those gatherings can be deadly, therefore they are want and desire, not a need. Desires aside, if you or anyone is struggling with isolation, loneliness or depression, this may be much more than just a “want,” it may be a sign of a medical or psychological need. This isn’t a loophole for breaking guidelines and gathering, but it could be a sign that you need support. No one should be nervous, scared or ashamed to reach out to a medical or mental health professional about this. Your mental health is a NEED! But get it from a professional, not a social gathering.
We must remember that this is temporary. The pain, the sacrifice and the fatigue we are facing will not last forever. With extremely promising vaccinations ahead there is hope at the end of this brightly lit tunnel. You won’t always have to zoom for holiday celebrations, you won’t always have to see a loved one through a pane of glass and you won’t always have to miss meeting up with friends for a drink. But for now, for now we are all being called, or shall we say begged to act as though our lives depended on it, and our loved one’s lives depended on it, because they do. Sacrificing our wants, desires and wishes may seem mean, wrong and tiring, but it literally can and will save lives.
Which will it be? Will you be a helper? Are you willing to stick to the list of things you “need” to help keep this virus at bay? Or will you just give in to your “wants” and potentially hurt yourself or those around you? It’s that simple. For the health of our community, we need every one of us to commit. Instead of looking for loopholes, or trying to validate our wants, let’s think about other’s needs. We NEED to make sure that those seeking out their “needs” don’t have to risk their lives because of someone else’s “wants.” It’s this easy, do you need to, or do you want to? We NEED to save lives!
Director Of The Wellness Center