Collaboratively written by: Yvonne Rheinschmidt Ph D LPC & Scott Rheinschmidt MA LPC
This past Sunday, March 15, 2020, we all experienced social isolation. My family and I felt a feeling of loss when Holy Mass was canceled through a decree by the Archbishop. Without a doubt our normal lives are being interrupted by the coronavirus. Our social gathering of going to Mass as friends and family reminded us of how much Holy Mass really means to us. Social isolation could be a scary thing because God created us to be social beings. So, how do we deal with this situation in a positive way? We must keep an awareness of loneliness which is choice versus social isolation.
In psychology, we consider loneliness as an emotional suffering. Loneliness is the pain of feeling separated. Loneliness is the unsettling sense of incompleteness and insecurity. The lonely person may feel inferior to others who are perceived as not lonely. Being forced into social isolation is not the same as loneliness. Social isolation is not a choice yet loneliness is a choice. Be aware that being asked to do social distancing doesn’t have to interfere with our connectedness to God, family and friends. Loneliness, on the other hand, is a choice that disconnects us from God, family and friends. Loneliness is a focus on envy, greed, and jealousy. Loneliness is a fixation on what we don’t have. It can make us feel inferior. So if you find yourself feeling lonely know that it is a choice. You can choose instead to reach out and connect with God through His Word. You can choose to connect with family and friends through a simple phone call.
During this time of social isolation, we are called to ultimately change our focus towards gratitude. Being thankful for what we do have versus fixating on what we don’t have. If you find yourself worrying too much about what you don’t have, consider refocusing your attention on what you do have such as God, family and friends, and probably enough toilet paper. 🙂 Consider the many blessing God gives.
This past Sunday Pope Francis recalled the Church’s spiritual communion as the Body of Christ. He stated that during this pandemic situation, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion which unites all members of the Church. Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to live this difficult moment with the strength of faith, the certainty of hope, and the fervor of charity.