It feels like 2020 has brought us nothing but misery. Not just me and you, but it has carried the heartache to every little part of this planet.
This pandemic has made us re-evaluate our lives, some for the better and most for the worst. But I can’t stop thinking about the grief that has settled unto us. Makes me question the intention of collective grief.
What is Grief?
Grief is an emotion triggered by an unimaginable loss of a loved one, a home or a job. These days we see people in severe distress due to colossal fatalities of their loved ones. In such instances even though we are not in their place, every loss feels like our own.
The loss of a neighbor’s pet, the loss of a friend’s grandparent. Their grief, your grief, turning into our grief. This year just keeps taking and taking, and we’re all tired of giving. Feels like a pernicious relationship, doesn’t it?
Psychologists can’t figure out why some people dust their grief off with a swat of the hand, while others undergo such tribulation that they can’t function.
Some of us are engrossed in our favourite Netflix show and exploring new hobbies. Whereas some are sleeping it all away because it’s exhausting, not being able to turn a blind eye to the world burning around you.
Therefore, this is a reminder that amidst unbearable circumstances; it is okay to feel and let people feel the way they do. Grief is a highly personal emotion which varies from person to person.
How Collective Grief might help us:
However, it turns out collective grief might be the thing that will help us heal from the trauma this pandemic has caused. In 2015, psychologists at the University of Freiburg studied the effects of sharing negative emotions. They assessed a group of people who were made to watch the same gloomy video from the movie Schindler’s List at the same time.
The participants were surrounded by each other, unaware of what the other person is watching. The results showed that this group who watched the clip together felt closer to each other. They were cohesive socially than the other varying groups in the experiment.
The psychologists claimed that this happened as they underwent a shared experience of the bleak affects. The group focusing on the same depressing video made them feel bonded. So, maybe this heavy feeling of collective grief will help us recover in the future.
These findings are a portrayal that we are in this together and hopefully, we will come out stronger and kinder as a society. Though the future might seem bleak maybe together, there’s hope for us after all.
“Grief is not a feeling but a neighbourhood. This is where I come from. Everyone I love still lives there.”