Since COVID began last year, it seems like the phrase “We are all in this together” has been said repeatedly. Made into beautiful artwork, memes, and posts on the internet, yet I notice that kindness is lacking somehow. In this post, I will suggest that we all start to LIVE the phrase “We are all in this together.” Everyone is going through something. Behind every perfect Instagram post is a not-so-perfect person. Many feeling broken, isolated, hurt, or grief. There are fears, hopes, love, and wishes in everyone’s heart. We all share the same internal battles. We are all in this together. So let’s show each other, and not just say it.
Here I am asking not just to say ‘we are in this together’ by displaying it on a blog post. But I’m here to tell you that these aren’t just words. I’m committed to doing what I say, and I’m challenging you, too.
Being empathetic and kind is much easier said than done, especially when patience is thin, and you have your world going on. But I’m here to ask for compassion and support as we lift each other, especially during this pandemic.
Did you listen to Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” during the presidential inauguration?
Being brave enough to be the light is real. To be light to someone when there may only be a dim one in your heart at the time. It will make your light brighter. Even just as you smile as you pass someone on a walk, is living the words and not just saying, “We are all in this together.”.
Commit to being kind even when no one publicly will see it.
Commit to being kind even when no one publicly will hear it.
Commit to being kind even when you feel like being selfish.
As we became isolated over the last year, our circles have closed. We have become more inward. And we have cared less about the outside world and more about our own. On the one hand, prioritizing what’s important is a great idea, but also, remembering that the world doesn’t revolve around you is equally important. Remember, we all are in this together. Remember that others are going through difficult times too. Remember and be kind to try to see the many sides to a situation and not just your own. We have more in common with others than we think. More often than not, what we have in common are the difficult times, the challenging situations, and the grief we share.
Looking back at the most challenging times in my life, I can say that the people/person that didn’t try to solve my problem but instead gave me a shoulder to lean on is the one I am most grateful. “I told you so” and unsolicited advice just annoyed me and pushed me further away. Take a lesson from Peanuts. “Just be” with someone. Hold their hand, show them you’re there.
If you think about the people who have had the most significant effect on your life—the ones who truly made a difference—you will likely realize that they aren’t the ones that tried to give you all the answers or solve all your problems. They’re the ones who sat silently with you when you needed a moment to think, who lent you a shoulder when you needed to cry, and who tolerated not having all the answers but stood beside you anyway. Be this person for those around you every chance you get.
“Give respect to EARN respect.” For some reason, we expect people to respect us first. But the reality is people want to feel special. Make them see you give respect, and they will almost always return the favor. If you demand respect or use your position of power to require respect, you may live in a bubble for a little while where it seems everyone worships the ground you walk on, but you will for sure fall from the pedestal you put yourself on. Have the decency to give genuine respect to others. Show people who you are by the respect you give them. We are all human and in this together. Are you patient with a mentee, kind to the elders around you, sensitive with someone going through suffering, and supportive with those doing their best? How your true colors will show? Criticizing others for not having the same strengths will only come back to you in karma when your weakness shows. You have the power to give respect, and it’s a gift you can give to anyone and everyone.
It is always a good idea to nurture relationships with the truth. Giving truth is another way you can respect others: by still being honest in communication. How do you know if you are leading with honesty? Check yourself. Lies aren’t the only way you can be dishonest. Omitting truth or leaving details out can be equally hurtful. If you are withholding the truth, you are dishonest. Withholding truth can often be more damaging than a lie. Also, lying and withholding the truth is hard to maintain. Keeping your story straight can be exhausting. You’ll slip up, or the truth will slip out, and when that happens, your relationship will crumble. Everything you work for will be lost, including the respect they had for you. Lead with the truth, and let it be your guide.
The pandemic has made it very easy to get cozy in our little bubble, disengaged from people we consider loved ones. People are lonely. People feel isolated. With the relationships I once had an active role in, I’m here to ask you to jump back in. We teach people how to treat us, so if we teach people that we are just fine without them, they will move on. Please don’t wait until it’s too late or you’ve missed too much. Get out of isolation. You’ll be happier. AND if you feel relieved you don’t have a specific person in your life anymore, then make a conscious note of it, and move on from them. You can remove toxic people from your life without isolating them from everyone else.
The best analogy I can give is one I’ve talked about before. Kids don’t spell love L-O-V-E. They spell it T-I-M-E. When you show them, they are meaningful by giving them your time and attention and feeling loved. Same works for adults too. Giving people your uninterrupted time will show them they are important and value them. People will always find time for the things they value. If you’re making time for someone, they will feel it. Life is full of notifications, interruptions, distractions, and multi-tasking. Give people your undivided attention, and you will grow your relationships to a new level.
Appreciate the people around you and all the hard work they put into things. Tell them when you notice their efforts and tell them when you see their awesomeness shine through. If you notice a strength, a friend has, tell them. Be their cheerleader. You don’t have to have the same interests or hobbies to cheer on a friend, co-worker, or family member. All you need to see is that they are trying their best and tell them. Tell them what you like about them, tell them what you admire about them. Start being a person who empowers your loved ones.
If you have a unique relationship with someone, or if you are like me and have employees, children, etc., where you have a sense of authority over someone, never criticize them in public. Always do this in private. If you need clarification, or if someone did something that disappointed you or didn’t follow through with their responsibility, have this conversation in private. It is between you and them. Not other employees, not friends, not social media. hat
Finding something to cheer someone on about at first may be awkward to do, but soon you’ll be a natural at it! And soon you’ll see that IF you need to criticize someone, behind closed doors is the most respectful, kind way to do so.
Start living this phrase. I am. I hope people can see my heart and see when I’m doing my best. Some things don’t change, like my sarcasm, love for practical jokes, sense of humor and leading my team, and entrepreneurial relationships. I hope my sons will look back and see that their old dad had compassion and empathy for each stage of their life. I’ll be there, or I’ve been there. I am doing my best to make a difference in the lives around me. I’m trying to live each day like it’s the gift that it is. Nothing is guaranteed, and people do not owe me anything.
The last piece of advice I can offer today is to be there for yourself. Read books, lifelong learning through podcasts, YouTube, trainings, classes, observation, listening to others. If you can help others, help them. Fill hearts when you can. You can affect a person’s day, week, and even lifetime. Be real. Be you and give others the best part of you. You will never regret it.