Sometimes we need a perspective shift. A perspective shift means looking at things differently and opening up to new ways of understanding and seeing the world. It helps us gain a deeper and more enriched understanding of different aspects of life. It can also help us see how using a phrase like “We’re all in the same boat” might not be the best way to respond when people face a challenge.
Lingering effects of the pandemic
Nobody wants to dwell on the COVID-19 pandemic, but its lingering effects persist, affecting our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Delaware’s air quality has deteriorated due to smoke originating from wildfires in Canada. Consequently, individuals who never experienced breathing difficulties before COVID-19 find themselves struggling.
Furthermore, numerous young people endured years of hybrid or fully remote learning, resulting in disconnection from their peers and educators. We cannot underestimate the impact of isolation on mental health and productivity. Although our brains possess remarkable adaptability, transitioning can be challenging, particularly for those still developing cognitive reasoning and shaping identities.
Researchers supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) conducted a small study with 64 teenagers between 13 and 17 years old. They discovered that the brains of these teenagers appeared to have undergone an average aging effect of approximately 3 years during a 10-month period of time. “This effect mirrors what is known to happen in teen brains after they are exposed to adversity or traumatic events.”
It’s tempting to declare that the pandemic is behind us and move forward, perhaps even forgetting about it. However, our world has undergone profound changes since the pre-COVID era, making forgetting an unrealistic option. Instead, we must recognize the transformations and be willing to adapt, evolve, and exhibit compassion towards ourselves and others, fostering patience and support.
Acknowledging individual differences
In life, we come across many common expressions, including the phrase “We’re all in the same boat,” often used when facing difficult situations.
Typically, this cliché emerges during times of adversity when a person in a leadership position seeks to reassure others that a collective effort will enable them to overcome the ordeal together. While the speaker’s intention behind employing this analogy is generally courteous, it is important to acknowledge that, in reality, each individual possesses their own unique circumstances and experiences, resulting in significantly diverse “boats.”
While we may be navigating similar waters, the conditions and resources available to us are different. Just as people in different boats may face distinct challenges such as rough seas, strong currents, or limited supplies, individuals encounter diverse obstacles, advantages, and disadvantages based on their backgrounds, socio-economic status, education, upbringing, and personal circumstances.