It’s World Mental Health Day and now, more than ever, the world needs empathy.
By definition, empathy is our basic ability to see humanity in each other and in ourselves. Really, that’s it. Seeing people as human. Between a 24-hour news cycle and a global pandemic, it’s easy to focus on the headlines and the soundbites instead of the people at the heart of the stories. Perhaps our main focus should be on empathy and remembering that everyone is struggling with unique challenges. Treating people with empathy just might be the most important thing we can do to lift us individually and collectively from fear, anxiety, and sadness to a place of hope and resilience.
There’s no way around it: life is hard right now, and most of the milestones that can make life so special have been fundamentally altered or put on hold. Many of the difficult things happening right now are beyond the control of any one person. We may not be able to fix or solve things for ourselves or the people we love — but we can listen and hold space for each other as we navigate the emotions that come with this time in history.
Collectively, we can make a choice to be there for each other and show up for ourselves every single day, even if we don’t know how to fix our most immediate challenges. When we give empathy, we are living into our collective humanity. When we receive empathy, we feel a little less alone. Then, even when life feels really hard, it doesn’t feel quite as unbearable.
In these unprecedented times, it can be easy to feel like giving up or becoming apathetic. Instead, I’ve chosen to be hopeful. Because empathy defeats apathy.
Here are some things giving me hope:
- Crisis Text Line helps people every day – around 3,000 times a day – be kinder and more empathetic to themselves and to their communities.
- Crisis Text Line has a community of over 10,000 trained volunteers who give their time as Crisis Counselors to lead with kindness and remind anyone who is hurting that their life matters, that they can find ways to cope with anxiety, and that they won’t always feel this way.
- Crisis Text Line doesn’t do this work alone. We work with partners across every sector who have made the bold commitment to be change agents in their community and to work in partnership with us as we build a more empathetic world together.
The more that people see humanity in each other, the better chance we have of getting through this together. You can make a difference in ways both big and seemingly small when you lead with empathy. You deserve kindness. You deserve empathy. And, the world needs you.
If you need a reminder that you matter (because, you do – you really do), we’ve got you. Text EMPATHY to 741741. You’ll connect to a Crisis Counselor for free, 24/7. On World Mental Health Day and beyond, we’re in this together.