Remember, compassion is about what you can GIVE
Updated: Jul 25
I was very quick to criticise the UK Government after the very first briefing on COVID-19 feeling that the leadership was uncertain, directives were unclear, and the herd immunity was not appropriate. Over the next few days I watched as the situation unfolded (extremely rapidly), culminating in the billion pound pledge into the economy on Friday. That’s when I realised, yes they may have been “nudging” us to try to do the right thing, but how can you enforce a stoppage without such plans in place. The fact plans were put in so responsively (when you consider how long laws or changes can take) was as much (to follow the zeitgeist) “unprecedented” as the package itself and the situation which has demanded it.
When we are pulling together as a Nation, it is not the time for politics or ego, now is – as the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, the time for compassion.
…and there is much support out there.
A Nation Pulling Together Be Like…
Professionals are delivering online exercise classes, cooking tutorials and other educational support broadcasts; Arts and culture are streaming shows and exhibits; there are a number of bulletins to support mental health and physical health for many specific healthcare populations; supermarkets are setting aside time for the elderly and the NHS to access (hopefully) stocked shelves. There’s a show of support amongst neighbours offering to pick up prescriptions and help those isolating or vulnerable.
This is before we come onto the heroes of our time – the tireless NHS staff, the scientists desperate to develop a vaccine, the Schools adapting their practices to support staff and students both in situ and remotely and all the keyworkers who may otherwise remain unnoticed – bin collectors, delivery drivers, the financial infrastructure, telecoms, engineering, and oil/gas/electricity/water. They are to be acknowledged and thanked every time we see them hereafter.
But what about me, ME, ME!? (I'm going to complain...)
But as always, there are many for whom measures just haven’t gone far enough.
Those defiantly in pubs before the enforced shutdown, some arguably erroneous petitions, and the number of people who are still saying “what about me” – you’ve not done enough for ME.
And I’m sad.
I’m sad that freelancers do have to turn to their savings. I’m sad that not all businesses will survive. I’m sad that many young people won’t have the “last day of school”, “the prom”, “their graduation”; that weddings may be missed or downsized, that maybe we won’t get that “dream home” this year, or maybe we can’t expand like we planned right now.
But more than that, I’m sad that there will be a human cost too.
To try and ease that – mainly by social distancing (I’m not NHS, nor in mainstream teaching any longer so this is really my main contribution!) – I don’t mind stretching out the food I bought so I don’t have to draw from depleting supplies. I’m ok with paying my taxes (because I’d budgeted last year) because some money has to come from somewhere and I’m lucky to have a roof over my head anyway. I’m fine right now earning less and giving more… I’m writing free weekly mindfulness circulars for my clients to support their teams and amongst the ways I’m trying to offer what I can I’m hosting “communal”(FB live) gaming ("Pandemic" the board game believe it or not!) sessions and recording educational tips in silly costumes in case parents need extra.
It’s hard for ALL of us, so please try to focus on what you can GIVE and CHERISH what you HAVE
Resilience is 3-fold – we need to survive, we then need to rebuild and finally we can grow. At the moment, everyone is just trying to survive.
I’m sad that hopes may not happen – but if you aren’t on the breadline, please please be grateful.
Please try to focus on what you can give, not what you couldn’t guarantee you would get. Please appreciate what you have, not hold out your cap for what you do not need. Right now we’re in survival. Support is free, kindness is free, humour is free and it’s a human cost we’re all trying to reduce. If you’re not in the frontline, if you’re not in a vulnerable group – please recognise that being compassionate just now – giving (if you can) – rather than asking – just makes it easier for everyone else to keep doing what they need to do.
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience For quick tips and tools: click for SKILL PILL and Q&A videos and here for Media appearances. Twitter/IG @draudreyt