The new emoticon in corona times:
THE ELBOW HUG
We are used to so many emoticons J :- but which symbol can we use to hug someone in Corona Times? Let’s go for the universal Elbow Hug. Barack Obama shows us how to do it. We will always find new ways to express our feelings of ‘sharing and caring’. The Elbow Hug may be a symbol of hope as well: there are obstacles and barriers but we will always keep in touch ) (
What do we find in the universal research on ‘hope’ and ‘happiness’ that can help us in these troubled times? More than fear and despair, hope and happiness seem to be universal key words when things are going wrong.
We are able to do, think and invent more than we are used to. Not only medical innovation will go fast. We will find lots of new ways to spend our time, to work and to communicate. Are shopping streets really the only streets to discover?
Positive thinking is no longer for drifters and dreamers. Of course things might go wrong but the only way out is to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. All research shows the same: there is no negative effect of positive thinking, based on the pillars of hope ‘willpower & waypower’.
More than ever we are convinced of our basic need for good relationships: with our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and fellow citizens. We are all in the same boat. Our focus on material things and consumption shows to be an empty box. Where shall I run to with my expensive sneakers and what does the amount of followers on Instagram really mean?
We are responsible for our own life. Governments and managers hopefully take the right decisions but finally we are in charge. Now the good life is threatened, we have the urgent feeling to take life in our own hands, to cause the change we want to see and to preserve the life we live. Autonomy, competence and connection. Lockdown parties are not a good idea.
Now we have more time for ourselves and those who are nearby, we will discover new strengths in ourselves and in the others. We find out how good the children are at solving problems, how we can do more with less and how much solidarity we can create. The latest iPhone will be less important than the courageous skills we now need.
We discover the value of small things around. Sincere silence instead of artificial noise. We miss the hugs of beloved ones. Finally we clap hands for medical personnel, teachers and researchers. They deserved this appreciation last month as well but we didn’t show it. They are not on Instagram. Kim Kardashian doesn’t seem to fill the vacuum of values and priorities that really matter in life.
So when we hug each other online with the elbow hug, let’s think of what we might learn from this new period: creativity, optimism, relationships, ownership, new strengths and appreciation. It’s easy to remember. The first letters of these six words hide the virus that might bring us closer to ourselves and to others: corona ) ( Hope is a virus as well. It is a choice. It can be learned. And it is extremely infectious.
Leo Bormans is researcher and author of international bestsellers as ‘The World Book of Happiness’ and ‘The World Book of Hope’, that have been translated in more than 15 languages. www.leobormans.be