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Glenn Llopis

CEO and Founder, Center for Hispanic Leadership

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What To Do When A Crisis Becomes Personal

03/23/2020 06:00AM | 3260 views

COVID-19 is a global crisis that is impacting every single one of us – at various levels and degrees.  What makes this crisis different than most - is that it’s personal. Very personal. We are all experiencing the ramifications, many of which we would have never expected in our lives and that are out of our control.

For myself personally, here are a few examples: 

  • My 85-year-old mother has colitis and was unable to get her medications for days due to shipment delays. She has had severe flare-ups.  She is also a high-risk individual.
  • My 72-year-old mother-in-law is also a high risk individual due to a chronic pulmonary disease. 
  • My wife had to stop working to home-school our 4.5-year old daughter. Our daughter is going stir crazy in the house and wants to play with her friends.  Our neighborhood is in lock-down.   
  • My cousin is in Greece on her honeymoon. She does not know when she can return home.
  • Our family vacation has been cancelled and we are now having trouble getting refunds.

This doesn’t include the impact on our friends. For example, we have two families that have been forced to cancel weddings that were planned 12-months ago. And the numerous other issues that we don’t even know about yet - that may have significant financial, mental and work-related implications.

We need to witness and learn to be sensitive with how people cope with crisis. For many they overload themselves with the news, debate concerns with friends via text messaging, and overindulge on social media, etc.  People are trying to cope with an event of this magnitude that many are unprepared to cope with. That’s why there are skeptics that have decided to ignore the crisis and its potential consequences.  

Everyone is different.

So why do we have difficulty coping with this crisis? Because we are not accustomed to confronting something so personal – that is so public.  

Before you make any big decisions, put things into perspective. Have the right mindset. This begins with understanding the bigger picture of what to do when a crisis becomes personal.  Here are a few things to consider: 

  1. Stop being selfish.  Everyone is impacted.
  2. Express your vulnerabilities.  Everyone has them.
  3. Don’t compare your situation with others.  Allow the unique needs of others to help you cope with your own. 
  4. Be empathic.  Listen and comfort those whose implications are much more severe than your own.
  5. Learn about yourself. Most people don’t know who they really are until they are faced with adversity.  Remember that adversity reveals you.
  6. Connect with loved ones. When was the last time you told your family or friends that you love them? Reconnect more intimately and get to know your loved ones as individuals.

This is just the beginning of the list.  I encourage you and others to continue it. Not only because it’s a healthy process, but it will also teach you to “own a responsibility” that society has made it difficult for us to recognize:

You represent your most immediate and ongoing opportunities for the betterment of a healthier whole.  In other words - be part of the solution.  Own it.  Act on it. 

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