Updated: May 23
“So, you think you got it bad?” I have found that can be one of the most powerful questions to ever truly ponder. It's grounding, self-reflective and may just cause you to emote empathy towards some truly unusual characters. Have you known someone you didn't particular care for, or let’s just say you even detested? Of course, you have. You are alive right? Did you ever later learn something about them, or their life, that changed your point of view? You know, like a complete jerk and then you met their father and it clicked. Your “jerk” was raised by an even bigger jerk. It wasn’t all his fault. You may even appreciate how less of a jerk he is, than that apple tree he fell from.
If this particular example has never happened to you, have you ever tried to just understand what it is you don't like about someone? Did you even care too? I often try too. It’s a great exercise, and especially these days with our newfound "free time." And speaking of “free time” here’s something I never thought I would say. I watched the Taylor Swift biography. Not my choice and terrifying, right. But my prior dislike for her, for whatever stupid reason it was, went away. Her life story made her struggles relate-able and humanized. Empathy and understanding are a force to be reckoned with. So, I would like to apologize to Ms. Swift. See, it’s not that hard Kanye.
So, if you don't care for someone, don’t you want to know why? What is it about you, that doesn't like them? Spite, jealousy, unresolved anger? Is it a triggered memory of someone else, that perhaps they might remind us of? Is it really about them, or is it us, or our perspective or past? Is it a reflection of us? What is it, really? Okay, if you are still with me, I want to circle back to my 1st real question to illustrate. "So, you think you got it bad?"
I was trying to think of a few of my friend’s particular situations, who like all of us, sans Medical Personnel and the Grocery Store Folk, are "stuck" at home. What are our friends, neighbors, loved ones and enemies going thru? Who out there has it easy, because they are rich? David Geffen, after all, is self-isolated on his $590,000,000 super-yacht. "Isolated in the Grenadine islands, avoiding the virus." Pretty easy to hate, right. But here's where I am veering off. Have you thought about his situation from his perspective? Are we big enough too? This is where I am going with this post. Today, I am the Defender of Perspective. Like the Lorax who spoke for the trees, I speak for your Perspective. You are allowed to have your own. Just like I am allowed to hate it...but really should, only for a minute.
To those of great wealth and privilege, this virus, as well as other disease & ailments, does not pick favorites or care who you are. So, these folks may actual be at a disadvantage to those whose life has been tough. The "toughened" are perhaps more prepared for crisis, have a well-developed immunity system or at least a better perspective. They might know better, the things that really matter. Love, family, hope and empathy. Empathizing with people in struggle can be the greatest gift. We all just want to know we are not alone. I actually believe Mr. Geffen was trying via Instagram to empathize with us. That's my perspective and guess of what his actual motive was, from his perspective. I would find it very hard to believe he was rubbing it our faces. Honestly, he might have been feeling a little sorry for himself. Sorry he was stuck on a “boat” because from his perspective, that sucks.
So, let’s look across the street. Their grass is greener than mine. A sweet retired couple, hunkered down, but they are fine...they have each other, right. But, I start wonder how they are doing. I have noticed their grandchildren have not been over for weeks, for obvious reasons. They haven't been outside and walking like normal. When I did last see the old man a few days ago, he was looking a little frailer. Are they scared? They are in a high-risk group. Might they not live long enough to see the grandchildren again. Okay brain… stop that. But it continues, I start to wonder if they need anything. I am about to attempt a Costco adventure. I begin to empathize.
Then I think of all the independent business owners I know. Each has their own separate set of woes, as we all do. I remember being a business owner and having 20+ families relying on the business for income. There is a stress, rarely discussed, to ever business owner, in knowing their employee’s entire personal economy relies on them to keep the ship afloat. Imagine that burden weighing on the CEOs of the world right now. I can only speak to my opinion of those that I actually know and each of them really do care about stuff like that. That may be a strange perspective to someone that’s never owned a business or has always worked “for the man.” And now, throw in there how for many of these people, this economic downturn is going to “take tout.” Life is going to be a little different on the other side of this. I think we all know that…but guess what. It can be a better life with little more perspective and empathy.
The main reason for my post is an attempt to have you look at your fellow humans, a little differently. Try taking in social media posts differently. More omnipotently. Rise above flying off the handle at every post you feel is wrong. We are not all social justice warriors. Let’s tolerate perspective. Even the crazy ones. It might be their way of coping. We are all humans. If you think you got it bad, someone always has it worse than you. I can go toe to toe with the biggest complainers and “the poor Me’s” in the world. The "my life is so hard people" and I get it. Because life is hard. But trust me, someone's life is always worse out there. I promise. Sociologist believe it’s the reason for the popularity of reality tv. We love to make ourselves feel better watching other people’s train wrecks. So, I guess that makes watching The Bachelor, Hoarders or the Kardashian therapy?
Whatever it is. Why not just take 5 minutes out of each day in quarantine to think how you can help someone? You can do it, even from a distance. Go leave a review for your favorite business or restaurant. It’s free and helps them immensely. Not just with their SEO. It might just give them a shot of much needed pride, appreciation and inspiration. Buy a gift card, if you have a few bucks, to support a business and give it to someone in need. You don’t have to touch them or be within 6 ft. The mail is still running. Heck…. give it to the Mailman, the Amazon delivery person, UPS, FedEx, you get me. One small gesture might have a butterfly effect. My post today might have that effect. I hope it does and from my perspective, it might just do some good. We all have something to give. Empathy is a freebie.
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