Written by Eli Coker
In Frozen II, Sven says to Kristoff, “You feel what you feel and your feelings are real.”
Humans have a lot of feelings, and in stressful situations those feelings tend to magnify. Boredom turns to apathy, happiness turns to elation, and anxiety turns to panic. True colors show more than ever when people feel vulnerable and reliant upon others.
Families see sides of their relatives that they have never seen, and friends see sides of one another that have never surfaced in typical circumstances. Sometimes, this might result in conflict or hurt feelings, while other times it surprises us with forgiveness and authenticity.
However, in a world where connection seems scarce, communication persists and perhaps even flourishes. Somehow, when our magnified feelings resonate with others, those feelings become validated.
But should it really take a pandemic to show empathy to others? Do we really need to understand exactly what a person is feeling to show kindness? What if in addition to magnifying our feelings, we magnify our love and our goodwill?
When someone feels something, that feeling exists. It does not require validation, because its mere presence is affirmation enough. Imagine if we as humans took the energy spent deciding if someone’s feelings count, and applied that to making their feelings heard.
If we can turn worry to sheer panic, then surely we can turn listening to comprehending and caring into action. Perhaps we can even turn boredom to creativity.
We can either come out of this with bitterness in our hearts and conflict with loved ones, or we can emerge with a new passion for life and forgiveness on our tongue. The innovation necessary to sustain education and entertainment in quarantine proves that even those people who deem themselves entirely uninventive are actually just waiting for the right set of circumstances to be inspired.
Feelings can be overwhelming. Express them through art, through music, through dance or through whatever medium feels right. Speak openly with those who are close to you, and in return listen patiently to them. There are no inherently right ways to feel in a pandemic, or in life. All we can do is create with what we have.