Empathy and compassion: two states to carry forward as we leave Covid behind.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes.
Compassion is the ability to recognize the suffering of others and make a choice to help.
Consider Some of the Empathy Covid has Taught us.
If you have struggled with anxiety about catching the disease, that’s what people with auto-immune conditions feel every time a healthy person chooses not to get a vaccine to prevent an illness like the measles or the flu. The fact that you might have no trouble surviving one of those illnesses doesn’t mean your neighbor can, and they may not be able to get a vaccine.
If having to wear face masks feels like an invasion of your body, think about how you would feel if the government forced you to bear a child.
Did the store running out of toilet paper freak you out? Consider what it would be like to be homeless and not have easy access to a bathroom.
Does someone in your household choose not to practice the same safety measures that you do, which makes you feel your life is in danger? Now you know something of what it’s like to live with domestic violence.
It’s incredibly hard to have all of these fears—and more—combined at one time, but each anxiety the pandemic brings can give us the ability to find empathy for others in the future.
Empathy for those who lose their jobs, through no fault of their own.
Having a hard time getting to the doctor? Think about what it would be like without health insurance.
Don’t like the inability to travel? People living in poverty without disposable income don’t have that ability in normal years.
Empathy can lead us to Compassion.
What are we going to do as Covid ends?
Will we choose to get the vaccine that will protect our neighbors?
Make a different decision about whether or not a woman has a right to choose?
See the homeless person as a human being with needs just like our own?
It’s understandable during the pandemic and the lockdowns to think inwardly. We’re doing the best we can to endure a scary and difficult time.
We don’t know what the future will bring us, how long the pandemic will last, which of us it will kill. But we do know that for most of us, it will end. We will return to a life not unlike the one we had before March 2020. It might be a year or two, or even more, but it will happen.
But those with chronic illness will still struggle.
Those living in situations of domestic violence will still not know security in their own homes.
Those living in poverty will still not have access to so many things the luckiest among us get to take for granted.
I just hope some of what we carry is empathy and compassion.
Want to start today? Donate blood this holiday season. You can find a local donation center, or visit the Red Cross online for a location near you. Click the link here.
We’re all in this together
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite on-line retailers. And don’t forget many independent bookstores can order books for you and have them shipped to your home or for curbside pickup.
The ebook is on sale for $1.99 during the entire month of November!
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Header photo by Pavlofox on Pixabay.