Compassion must be part of our response to Covid-19
Covid-19 is causing suffering on a global scale - families are losing loved ones, while essential workers are putting their lives at risk to help others. For many, including myself, the restrictions that have been put in place to stop the virus spreading are causing pain, stress and fear. Pain of being in isolation or being on furlough. Stress wondering how school closures will affect your education and future opportunities. Fear for the loved ones we cannot visit.
Compassion is much more than kindness and was summed up neatly by Paul Gilbert in his book The Compassionate Mind. It's about being open to seeing the causes of suffering and having the courage to learn how to address the causes of this suffering in ourselves and others. Now is a time we need compassion in bucket loads.
Courage is needed to be compassionate. We need to recognise the pain that we, and others, are feeling. And trust me, it’s taken me a while to understand the source of my pain. It comes from a deep concern for my brother who is in complete lock down because he’s in supported living. It also comes from the sadness of knowing I can’t hug friends who are going through their own personal challenges.
Then we need to work out how we can alleviate this pain in others and ourselves. I made sure that my brother and his support workers got a delivery of Easter eggs – we all know the medicinal effect of chocolate 😉 . And my friends receive many virtual hugs through online chats.
Being compassionate helps to reduce our own painful emotions and improves our well-being. I’ve definitely noticed that when I helped others in this difficult time. But we should not forget ourselves. That's why I’m also making time to be compassionate to myself – I make sure I take time to breathe, make a note of my feelings in my journal and I watch something which makes me laugh out loud.
What do you need to be compassionate to yourself? If you’d like to talk more about what you need to foster compassion drop me a message