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Empathy in a Pandemic

THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19 are hitting the human race like a tsunami. Death, illness, fear, stress deprivation, financial difficulties….. the list goes on and on. The lack of control over our own lives and the pain of not being with loved ones are something we can all agree affect us daily. I have a large family who I love and adore. The support we give each other on a daily, hourly basis has been like an anchor in these horrible times. We text, we talk, we video, all the usual ways of communicating.

We speak about how frightened we are, how we miss each other, how we are worried about money, about how we feel like we have no rights because COVID-19 has changed our normal way of life. Then we moan about how we are sick the local takeaways shut. About how long the queue is in our local supermarket, about how we miss getting our hair dyed and the state of our eyebrows….. all normal things during this time.

Now for the honesty… after every conversation we have with anyone not just family, friends whoever about how hard things are, do we then make comparisons to our own life? On a bad day possibly coming away thinking` well my life harder’ or ` wish my life were as easy?’.

In doing this we are almost taking away any credibility of how the other person feels, we are diminishing there struggles as lesser than our own. We are not truly empathising with them. I myself am guilty of this at times more often so at this present time as some tell tales of their tales of how they are spending lockdown.

So, I was asked to speak with passion recently about something I am truly passionate about and I didn’t. I saw a task and completed it. I said all the right words in the right order and did it grammatically correct.

But it was wrong, without feeling and just words so ……..someone corrected me and told me to go and sleep on it and come back tomorrow after thinking about the meaning behind what I was saying and why.

I went away and did just that, and came back the next day and spoke with the passion I truly feel for The people we serve and why I do this job, `it was emotional ‘ to say the least. It came to me during speaking that the restrictions on everyone’s lives during COVID-19 lockdown are strikingly similar to the way The People We Serve’s lives used to be!

RESTRICTED, WITHOUT CHOICE, WITHOUT CONTROL and it smacked me right in the face.

The lack of control. The feeling of helplessness. The feeling that you have no voice.

I was emotional because every feeling we are going through right now has at some point been the normal for the people we serve and I was humbled, and we must not allow that to ever happen again.

So think with true empathy, put yourself in others peoples shoes think about how they might be feeling without judgement or comparison but most of all think about the honour we have to work with the people we serve and do it with empathy and passion.

Catherine Corner

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