It is hard to believe that in this global world we are still struggling with the concepts of race, diversity, and inclusion; that we still have not got it right and that children are growing up in homes that promote racial bias. That these children will have their own children and continue the narrative so that the cycle repeats itself. It seems that history has not taught us much. The race, class, and religious divide still prevails ALL over the world.
We need to break this cycle now. An alarm bell should ring in our hearts and minds whenever we hear of war, genocide, and cases of brutality on the news. We have been living in a world of chaos too long, so long that we have the ability to become desensitised and numb. So much so that we are ready to move onto the next sensational news the media decides needs our focus. If we could take anything from the forced lockdown of COVID-19, what should it be? How can it be that watching people lose their lives and loved ones all over the world due to the same disease has not brought the world together but divided it more? It seems that if we could learn anything from all the mayhem that 2020 has provided for the entire world then it should be empathy.
Empathy should be the theme of 2020.
You might ask, what kind of change can your empathy bring to the world? What if empathy was your superpower, so that when you were waiting in line for your turn at the supermarket, driving to work in rush hour, or trying to overtake the person in front of you in traffic, you were able to read that person’s innermost worries and thoughts? How would knowing these thoughts determine your reactions and interactions with the people around you? Let’s be curious. Let’s try the empathy superpower on for size.
Take a look around you and pick a stranger who looks nothing like you, or if you are sitting in isolation think of the last stranger you saw who looks nothing like you. Close your eyes and bring up the image of that person. Now put yourselves in their shoes.
- What was the first thought that he/she had this morning?
- What are his/her daily worries?
- What is his/her favourite thing to do?
- What are his/her dreams for him/herself?
- What is the last thought that he/she goes to bed with at night?
- Now open your eyes.
What did you learn about yourself as you were imagining the life of this stranger? What did you learn about the stranger? Whenever I have made use of my empathy superpower it has made me stop and think. That is all it takes to be kind. When you stop and think your reactions will have an impact on what happens next. You will have the choice to promote compassion over hate. You will have the choice to be non-racial. You will have the choice to make sure that inclusion is embedded in our generation and those that follow us.
Let’s try it again. Close your eyes. Call upon your empathy superpower.
Now ask yourself this. What kind of positive change do you want to wield with this superpower that you just cultivated?