Compassion, Empathy, and Human Kindness
Compassion, com·pas·sion something we all need to be right now, and something many of us need a little extra of right now. To show compassion means to show a willingness to help others, to hear and understand them, to be empathetic and sympathetic to their feelings and situation. It is showing kindness, caring, and giving support where it's needed. Compassion is the ability to feel for another, and truly put yourself in their shoes for a moment. You put yourself in their position, and try to understand where they are coming from, and how they may be feeling. Everyone deals with things in their own way, so being thoughtful, kind, and understanding is important. Similar to how we are "all in this together" speaking of quarantine and the global pandemic, however, no two people are going to cope and manage the situation the same. Each person has their own unique story and their own way as to how they are responding to the unknown.
Just because someone reacts differently to a situation or event then you, or manages stressors a different way, doesn't mean they are wrong. It doesn't mean you are wrong either, this is part of what makes us human, the fact that as much as we are the same, we are all our own, unique, beautiful, authentic selves. Compassion and empathy are closely related, however, empathy is the ability to hear, understand, and feel the other persons emotions, while compassion is taking it a step further, and taking action to help alleviate the other parties distress. Ways to practice being compassionate may be to be less or non-judgmental, to be empathetic towards others, treat others with kindness, respect and dignity. Trying your best to understand how they are feeling, and being understanding to where they are coming from.
With the mandates and guidelines changing sometimes daily, it's important to be empathetic towards others, and to yourself, along with showing compassion. It's easy to become more stressed out and overwhelmed than normal during such times of uncertainty. In practicing empathy and compassion we are able to connect more easily with others, and possibly even feel less lonely overall. Feeling empathy may also help you in better managing the feelings of being stressed out and overwhelmed.
Take a moment and think about the ways your life has changed over the past several months, how the pandemic has affected you in your daily life. Many are now working from home, furloughed, laid off, on paid leave, or simply without a job. Many are now home schooling their children, some while trying to maintain a household and work all at the same time. Routines have been changed, some people struggle to create a new routine or maintain any sort of schedule during these times. Some are wondering how long they can go before they run out of food, and some struggle to have access to their basic necessities. Think about how you have been affected, then, I urge your to consider how this may have affected someone else, and how they may answer or respond to these questions.
Be kind to yourself and others. Show compassion, for others, but also self-compassion, understanding, and love. It's okay if you aren't getting your list of home projects done, it's okay if you can't find it in you to concentrate on a book, feel a lack of creative juices to make art or start a new project, it's a lot to deal with, and as we know, we all manage stress, fear, anxiety, change, and the unknown in different ways. Each one of us is dealing with these things, and each in our own unique way. Now, perhaps more than ever in my lifetime, and maybe yours, we need to remember to be kind to others along with to ourselves. While none of us can control how others behave, each of us can control our own actions, reactions, and responses. Now, tomorrow, and always, practice compassion, empathy, and kindness towards yourself and others.