It’s been a year like no other. There finally appears to be some end of the pandemic in sight, and many are feeling optimistic but also cautious about what lies ahead. How do we move forward from such a harrowing experience? Where do we go from here?
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology that discusses 5 levels of needs that humans possess. One can only attend to the needs higher up in the hierarchy when the more basic needs have been met.
If you feel like you’ve been acting in fight-or-flight mode for the past 16 months, you’re not alone. When faced with perceived or real dangers, we, as humans, zero in on our basic needs for safety and security as part of our survival instinct. But, as the threat of coronavirus subsides, our ability to attend to our psychological and self-fulfillment needs higher up on the hierarchy becomes increasingly possible. So, when we ask ourselves, “where do we go from here?”, perhaps we can think about our needs for belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Let’s commit time for ourselves and our children to rekindle and foster relationships with family and friends. Let’s invest ourselves in activities that we enjoy, take pride in, and provide us with feelings of accomplishment. Let’s focus on growth.
Growth through adversity is a concept in psychology that we can learn from adverse events and use them to make changes in our lives for the better. In the words of Stanford psychologist, Jamil Zaki, it differs from resilience because, “Resilience is staying the course through a storm. Growth is charting a new course.” Perhaps the pandemic has allowed you to spend more time with family; perhaps the pandemic has allowed you to take part in compassionate causes; perhaps the pandemic has allowed you to utilize technology in positive ways you may not have otherwise been able to. Perhaps the pandemic has allowed you to pause and evaluate what matters to you most. What are the changes you wish to see? What are the changes you wish to make? Where will you go from here?