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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 148-149

When it takes a pandemic to help us forget our conflicts

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Urology Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Date of Submission23-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance24-Mar-2020
Date of Web Publication07-Apr-2020

Correspondence Address:
Gopal Badlani
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Urology Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iju.IJU_97_20

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How to cite this article:
Badlani G. When it takes a pandemic to help us forget our conflicts. Indian J Urol 2020;36:148-9

How to cite this URL:
Badlani G. When it takes a pandemic to help us forget our conflicts. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jan 31];36:148-9. Available from:

Dear Editor,

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity for us to appreciate the importance of collaboration and cooperation among individuals and nations as we all come together to fight this scourge. Despite the many human conflicts around the world, our ability to push all else behind when we fight for survival, shows how the human brain is capable of forgetting man-made conflicts when circumstances demand it. As I look at this innate human ability, I reflect on confrontation in general.

The word 'confrontation' itself makes one tense, let alone the act. Avoiding it seems easier than going forward with it. It is most often spontaneous and unplanned, but may end being deliberate and planned on occasion. Raw emotion and irrational response is a likely scenario when one feels visceral in being wronged or violated. Regardless of the outcome, the end result is a feeling of being spent, angry, and sad all at once. It is not uncommon to “take it out” on a loved one or a subordinate.

A deliberate confrontation is planned precisely to take down a person who is not suspecting or prepared for it. This is an unequal process where the person at the receiving end has no answers for the onslaught of accusations or insults. These situations occur in personal as well as professional life and occasionally with strangers. I realize more of us are better at taking it, swallowing it, and sulking for a long time after. Replaying it over and over and coming up with clever responses that should have been used. The select few dish it out and don't dwell at all on those whom they have harmed emotionally or otherwise.

So what is the solution? Avoiding all confrontations is impossible. Learning to manage our response in a calm manner is extremely hard to learn, but very effective as it tends to defeat the opponent most effectively. As the saying goes, you cannot clap with one hand. A second, somewhat easier, process is learning to “let go.” The moment passed cannot be rewritten, so replaying it over and over is a wasted thought. It drains more energy than the event itself. A third, most effective method, is a written response to the event; not email or text as it can be thoughtless or spiteful, but a written letter or document. It is not even necessary to send it as simply writing it is cathartic.

Taking it public seeks a rebuke in a way that asks others to choose a side. Most don't want to be part of it and avoid it at any cost. After a while, everyone just wants it to be gone, as there are no winners. Brexit is a good example. Organizations or societies have a much harder time when attacked by an individual, as they can only defend with their hands tied behind their backs. More so because officers of the organization keep changing and the history of confrontation becomes murky.

When it is a loved one, it can be a short dip before a great high in the relationship, but if there are multiple dips leading to a feeling of driving over potholes, you are guarded and defensive. In a work environment, it can lead to a change in relationship on a long-term basis as there is less of a reason to make up and each remains in their own world. A thread broken, joined again but a knot remains!

As urologists, we are not the vanguard in this battle. However, we are a part of the army that stands to support and replace those at the forefront when the need arises. As we receive messages of gratitude from unknown people and a public show of appreciation as occurred during the “Janata curfew,” I am reminded of times not long ago, when we physicians had to come together to fight violence against our brethren. These thoughts may seem redundant in the current circumstance where we are able to put all such confrontations behind us. However, this may precisely be the time when we realize the futility of such confrontations, faced as we are with possibly an existential crisis that diminishes all other problems.

Financial support and sponsorship: Nil.

Conflicts of interest: There are no conflicts of interest.


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