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During this Covid-19 pandemic, even if you can't help others, at least you can stop judging and shaming them.
During this Covid-19 pandemic, even if you can’t help others, at least you can stop judging and shaming them.
With the COVID graph reaching a new peak every day, there is a rise in uncertainty. Everyone is anxious and fighting their battles. There has been an increase in workload for everyone. For women in the house, this has been especially significant.
More than ever, these are the times when we need to stop judging, exercise restraint in putting filters to people’s actions and behave with empathy and compassion.
A close friend called me up this weekend. A tech lead at an IT firm and a mother to two young kids, she sounded a little disturbed. When the ‘Un-lockdown’ was announced, the family had called the domestic helper back. Ever since then, there has been someone or the other shaming the family for this decision. These are the people who have decided not to employ any help until the crisis resolves.
Add to it, there are a few ‘well-wishers’ who have taken up the cause of actively discouraging and dissuading anyone and everyone in their circles trying to employ help. Though the immediate community doesn’t have any COVID case, yet the RWA groups have been doing their bit to dissuade anyone who wants to call help. Yes, there are ageing parents and young kids, but isn’t that a risk that the family can take care of and manage? Why does their decision need to be under a certain lens and critique?
This is not an isolated incident, but the story of many households today. While a lot of good samaritan work is being seen, yet many concerning behaviours and attitudes due to stigmatisation are also visible. People make it difficult for people around themselves – thanks to their perceptions, anxieties and that self- proclaimed wisdom that if they behave or do something a certain way, why can’t others. What is the big deal?
But you see, it is a big deal. No, please don’t mind. It’s ok if you do not make any donations or offer your services to the RWA. But it’s not ok to judge other people and their actions especially when times are stressful. And as they say, charity begins at home. It has to start from self and the journey has to be inwards.
Let me guide you how. It is simple. Here are four simple checks for your easy reference.
Do you easily slip into the tendency of judging other people’s actions? The fact is that you don’t know anything about others except what appears on the surface.
Every home has its own story which is a combination of many factors (health complications, financial implications, mental health, ageing parents and young children). Their struggles, challenges, issues and anxieties are their own despite belonging to the same family, community or residing in the same apartment complex. Saying that we all are sailing in the same boat is so incorrect; yes, all of us are manoeuvring our way through a storm but we all have our boats which definitely aren’t in the same condition.
How is your behaviour towards those who still have to visit the hospital in these times due to some health complication?
While we all need to be paranoid about taking precautions, yet, cornering people just because they are exposed to more risk due to regular hospital visits or being a front line family isn’t justified. More than ever, we need to be compassionate and a little does go a long way.
If nothing else, please refrain from actions which speak of biases or of undermining their efforts or hard work. Maybe just check in with them on their emotional health and offer some help?
Is your gratitude only towards the deities? How about your fellow humans. To everyone who is helping you in any minuscule way. Starting from your family, please include the people who are providing their services to ensure your smooth passage through these difficult times.
How about a thank you or a smile to the milk vendor who has been ensuring that your tea/coffee reached you on time in the past so many months, or to the garbage collector who has worked without a break for you every single day of this lockdown? Even taking charge of dinner today will help. Think!
Do you feel a strong urge to speak your mind out without a thought? If yes, then practise mindfulness. It will help you and those around you. Why I emphasise practice is because it takes an effort.
Whenever you feel that compulsion to vent without a thought, especially with people you may not know everything about, try this: Pause, take a deep breath and release. This will give enough time to your mind to break that chain of thoughts which may not be very constructive and positive.
So now you know the above simple checks, try reflecting on your actions today on this humanitarian scale. The above is the least one can do for making it better for people around. Would love to know how you fared!
Image via Unsplash
Present - India Lead - Education, Charter for Compassion, Co-Author - Escape Velocity, Writer & Social Activist. Past - DU, Harvard, Telecoms-India and abroad read more...
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