Peace Literacy for Navigating Struggle, Uncertainty, and Crisis
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, everyone is properly worried about making sure that people’s physical needs are met. But our research in Peace Literacy shows that people have many non-physical needs that are as important, if not more important, than their physical needs, especially during times of crisis. We’ve put together this series to discuss what these non-physical needs are, how people can meet them (and help others meet them) in healthy ways, how people during a crisis can become more vulnerable to tangles of trauma such as mistrust, rage, alienation, and helplessness, and how we can deal with trauma constructively rather than destructively. Each entry in this series will focus on one of humanity’s non-physical needs, along with practical ideas to help us create stronger relationships and communities as we navigate through this struggle together.
What is your higher purpose during this crisis, or in life? Do you have more than one higher purpose? How can your higher purpose strengthen the relationships and communities that you are a part of?
Nurturing relationships consist of being listened to, respected, and treated with kindness and compassion. A vital way to nurture each other and build trust is by giving people our attention.
Especially when there is a crisis, people want explanations. They want answers. Our explanations determine how well we can respond to a crisis, because the quality of our actions depends on the quality of our explanations.
The most effective leaders understand that our need for expression is both primordial and powerful. This is why the most effective leaders listen well.
Effective leaders know that when people don’t feel safe, the most basic need you have to feed is their need for inspiration.
During a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to be good stewards and protectors of people’s well-being and help them feel like they belong becomes even more important.
When people’s need for self-worth is not met through healthy means, this can cause high-magnitude earthquakes in the human psyche that ripple throughout a society, resulting in both obvious and hidden harms.
When people have more skills and options for navigating the challenges of life, this can reduce their feelings of helplessness.
A healthy form of transcendence that is not an escape from reality, but a way to journey deeper into reality, involves experiencing wonder and awe. Awe is a compound movement that requires the flexing of many of the muscles of our humanity.