Arc is a self-help author/speaker and AI thinker currently working as IT Manager in a tech company. He also make apps as a side hustle.
The term new normal has an increase use due to COVID-19 pandemic. If you ever wondered where this term famously originated? Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein used the phrase “New Normal” in his 1966 novel, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
“Citizens, requests may reach you through your comrade neighbors. I hope you will comply willingly; it will speed the day when I can bow out and life can get back to normal — a new normal, free of the Authority, free of guards, free of troops stationed on us, free of passports and searches and arbitrary arrests.”
- Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Since then, the term has been widely used following a crisis due to its tremendous effect on how the way we live. I don’t like confusing stuff because of complicated terms, so let’s skip the long explanation.
New Normal means “Deal with it”. Simple as that.
Unless you’re living under the rock. COVID-19 had caused serious inconvenience to everyone. Most of us are fortunate because we’re just experiencing inconvenience. The people who got infected are suffering. The medical front liners are physically and mentally exhausted for selflessly taking care of their patients. Worst, there are also those who are already in the afterlife due to pandemic.
Let’s review the difference
Most of us believe that we’re suffering, but the truth is, we’re just experiencing inconvenience.
The problem is we’re all used to with the life that we had before COVID-19 pandemic, to the point of we’re not mentally prepared when something changes. Meaning inconvenience that was only supposed to annoy is making us suffer instead.
To elaborate this further:
Losing a job in the city while having no public transportation available to go home. That’s suffering.
The extra time and effort needed for your children’s online class. It’s only inconvenience.
The anxiety of thinking on how to provide food, because livelihood is gone. That’s suffering.
Can’t take a jog outside. It’s only inconvenience.
Being infected with COVID-19. That’s suffering.
Wearing masks outside and practicing physical distancing. It’s only inconvenience and it’s our responsibility.
Getting emotional against people ranting in social media. That’s impatience.
Most people are not good in handling suffering. As a default response, they want others to suffer the same way they’re experiencing it. So if you see people ranting on their social media account about their current situation. Don’t retaliate. If you are annoyed, unfollow. You don’t need to understand them either. Just be patient and considerate with people. Not everyone has the mental capacity to handle stress, and not everyone is suffering equally. Practice patience and use your time and energy to work on yourself instead.
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst
Of course, we should never abandon hope. Hope is what keeps humanity sane in times of crisis. But what’s more important than hoping for the best, is preparing ourselves for the worst.
During pandemic, the virus itself is not the only one that we should worry about. Aside from the toll of not being able to go outside, there are tons of not so good stuff going on, no thanks to COVID-19. Mass unemployment, economic uncertainty, political disruptions, fear for safety, people who are taking advantage of crisis to do bad things, there’s a lot to mention that I can create a separate article for it. All of this will go on for a long haul. Let’s be realistic, none of this will just miraculously go away in an instant. This is the “New Normal”, if you can’t deal with it, your mental health is in serious trouble.
Be mentally prepared
Building mental resiliency is the first step, the most important, and also the hardest. Because it’s all about accepting the current reality and coping up with it. It’s difficult to build resiliency because society spoiled us with affirmations. Just to be clear, we need affirmations every now and then. But being spoiled by positive affirmations all the time doesn’t build mental resiliency, it only promotes self-absorption.
Mental resiliency is all about being used to bad times. To be clear, it’s not about feeling good during bad times, but coping up with difficulties. It also includes adapting to negative events and turning it to positive growth. Example is turning crisis into positive opportunity.
Since I already mentioned the word crisis multiple times, our generation has downgraded its meaning. The word crisis is supposed to be reserved for death, calamity, war, chaos, catastrophe, you name it in massive scale just like pandemic.
But now, we categorized common setbacks as crisis. Failure to get the promotion. Being rejected by the person you like. New smart phone got scratch. Those things are not crisis. But we make it anyway because once we share it on social media, we will be rewarded with sympathy, and attention by our friends. Not to mention that we feel sense of importance when we’re victim. That’s why victim culture has become a thing and one way to become a victim, is to categorize common setbacks to crisis. The result, a mentally weak generation who easily get offended from a misunderstanding with opposing point of view.
If you wanted to build mental resiliency, you need to abandon the victim mindset and adapt the growth mindset. Accepting the unavoidable crisis, coping up with present suffering, learning from all the lessons behind bad times, and doing something about difficult situation.
Deal with it
I rarely open my social media account. But when I do, I get tons of invitation to like or follow a business page. I know that I’m not the only person experiencing it, and annoyed by it sometimes. But we have to understand that most of our friends who invited us to like their business just lost their job and needs to do something in order to survive. If we think about it, these people are doing something to cope up with the crisis. Of course, let’s be realistic again. After few months, 90% of these businesses will just vanish in thin air. But that’s another topic. My point is, you should never stop finding a way to deal with current difficulty.
Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic a lot of businesses got affected. But those who deal with the situation are still operating. Like restaurants that focuses more on delivery, schools adapting to online classes, or offices implementing work from home.
There are also those who transform crisis to be a better person. Like working parents who take lockdown as an opportunity to spend more quality time with their children. Pandemic survivors who appreciate life more after recovering from infections. Volunteers who found purpose during crisis by selflessly helping those who are in need.
A lot of things had changed since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Life may get more difficult as we continue moving forward, but things will get easier once we get mentally stronger and acquire the skills to deal with the “New Normal”.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Arc Sosangyo
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 07, 2020:
Well this is a worthy read. I don't agree with some but like the style and overall message.