In this extraordinary time, are you feeling unsettled or uncomfortable? I know I am; for many of us, this disturbing feeling is a reflection of what’s going on in our world, where we don’t know much for sure. The fundamental fear we’re experiencing has an important role to play for our survival and protection.
But fear is a trickster; it can make us do and say strange things. Let’s not ignore or repress fear; rather let’s call fear out; face it head on. Let’s get clear about what we’re really afraid of and name it. If we’re afraid of getting sick, remember that none of us is in charge of the virus, only our thoughts about our wellness. So a better focus for our thoughts would be on our wellness, right? The idea of naming what we’re afraid of takes away some of its power and puts us in charge of our thoughts, words and actions.
Calling out fear, the con artist helps us gain perspective, enabling us to navigate with compassion, empathy and kindness for ourselves and for everyone around us. It’s my view that these qualities are our true nature but when fear takes over, we overlook them because we go into survival mode and focus on our primal needs. When we ask fear to take a back seat, we create space for our superpowers of empathy, compassion and kindness to support us in keeping fear managed.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
Compassion arises when we feel for someone in a challenging situation without experiencing it ourselves. Empathy flows when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and feel the experience they’re having. In this unprecedented time, empathy is everywhere because we are all experiencing the same threat, so we can appreciate how each other feels. Both of these beautiful human qualities come quite naturally to us but when fear is present, we have to make extra effort to lead with them rather than leading with fear.
“I choose the path of kindness. The more you extend kindness to yourself, the more it will become your automatic response to others.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
If you bump up against a challenge with another person either in their behavior or something they say, remind yourself that just like you, this person is doing their best to do their best. Call on your endless supply of kindness and compassion to help you navigate and be mindful of your words. If what you want to experience from others is kindness and compassion, make the first move and watch what happens.
Just like this virus spreads in ways we don’t really yet understand, kindness spreads too. Physicist and kindness expert Dr. David Hamilton explains that the Covid 19 virus has a contagion factor of 2.5 which means that every person who spreads the virus spreads it to 2.5 people. Each of the 2.5 spreads to 2.5 and the number increases just like compound interest. The contagion factor for an act of kindness is 5, which means that every act of kindness impacts 5 people and when we multiply just like compound interest, kindness can be a very powerful force.
“We can’t control the wind but we can adjust the sails.” Unknown
We can’t yet control the virus but we certainly can control our thoughts and face our fears head on. When we focus on how we can be of service in a very positive way for others, there’s no end to what we can do to make a difference. Consider a smile, writing a note, making a phone call, giving someone a compliment or simply listening as acts of kindness. Remember how kindness spreads and how good you feel when someone shows you kindness; then ask yourself how you can get busy ensuring we have more than enough kindness to go around. Live well, stay well.