For many years I did art and creative things on the side. My job, or maybe you might call it my real job (lol), that paid the bills and helped me (as a single mom raise my kids) was as a professional customer service representative. I worked for a large financial institution, working in individual life insurance and then for the Region of Waterloo as a professional customer service representative. It was an emotionally tough job, as we took a lot of flack from callers, but we were a tight group and we learned how to support each other through it, in the most beautiful ways. The skills that I learned regarding 'how to help others' were fine-tuned at those two jobs. I was paid to connect people to information or people to other people that could help them. I also worked for a time as a volunteer with the Toronto Distress Centre and that was so eye-opening.
These are my 'High Skills'. I love doing this, connecting people and needs together, and I am using those skills to help as many people as I can right now.
There are a lot of people in our communities that were already experiencing financial difficulties, ie. food shortages and housing insecurity, not to mention people with disabilities, addictions etc. Imagine those people now.
Does the idea of that make you sad and feel helpless? If so, go deeper.
None of us are helpless, none of us.
We can be help-FULL.
Start thinking about how you can help others. There are so many people just needing to talk for example. Start with your own family....maybe call that cousin that you know may be suffering more than usual, or that aunt, and just use active listening skills unless they ask for ideas. Take a walk around your neighbourhood, see who may need a kind anonymous food drop off. Get creative! Make an actual sign of encouragement for your neighbours and passers-by. Or maybe it is picking up garbage on your daily walk - make that your 'Thing'. Think of our most vulnerable, the seniors, the people on disability, the homeless.....brainstorm ideas, people will be grateful for your 'virtual' help (for example, I linked a charity up with a graphic designer because their website is out of date - pre-Covid.)
My lessons from all this....
I have 2 recent stories where I went into 'judgement' instead of empathy. I leapt into judging people for their actions and words and I realize this now:
If I don't understand why someone is acting a certain way, or doing something that doesn't make sense to me right now, I likely don't know the whole story.
We have to trust that everyone is doing their best right now. That mindset actually helps people TO DO their best.
That said, we all have seen scams and crooks and companies and people taking advantage of the situation. We need to be aware and careful. The dreaded (I hate to even say it) toilet paper shortages....but I choose to see that in an empathetic way: people are scared, people are worried and those people are showing their fears and worries. I cannot criticize them, I bought toilet paper!
This is the time to help others. Trust that you will be ok BY helping others. By helping others you in turn will be helped in the future. Plus you show that you are on the right side of this. You are not a bystander, and you are not wasting your time.
The best post that I read recently was on a Toronto Caremongering Facebook page and it said, "How lucky are we that can be at home baking and watching Netflix while others are scrambling for safe food and shelter. If you can help, HELP"
My suggestion: Start looking for a need, and then a way to help to fill it.
The world really needs you right now.
Find your best niche. This situation right now is the World's best Wake up Call.......how are you answering?
Yes, start with yourself and your family, but then move to your community and your community's most vulnerable.
#worldswakeupcall #answerthecall #helpothers #beempathetic #bekind