Radical Empathy

Over the last month, I've participated and listened in on a number of conversations around racism, discrimination, and empathy in our communities at home and around the world.

Many people with chronic illnesses are highly sensitive people, and I know for me it was hard to read the news some days, and hard to have difficult conversations. So, to all of the black, indigenous, and people of colour who spoke up and told their stories: Thank you. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for doing the work you shouldn't have to do. Thank you for being open and for trying to help others understand your experiences and how our current systems are harmful not just to you, but to everybody. When we have institutions that hurt certain groups, we all hurt. It's just a matter of learning to see it.

To everyone who has been listening, and discussing, and trying to better understand: thank you for stepping up. Thank you for showing your support. Thank you for committing to holding our societies, governments, and institutions accountable.

While these have been difficult conversations, I'm grateful for the concept of radical empathy which I learnt about from one of my favourite authors, Cheryl Strayed. Here's how she describes it:

"To me, radical empathy means striving to always hold others in unconditional positive regard. It means assuming that most of us are essentially good at our core, that we are all worthy of love and forgiveness. In action, it means willingness to contemplate the decisions and actions of others with consideration rather than condemnation, with compassion rather than scorn. Having radical empathy is not about letting people off the hook for their misdeeds and mistakes, but rather holding them—and ourselves—to a higher standard. It's about saying, "I believe we are capable of doing better, of being kinder, braver, more honest, and more generous—even after we have failed to do so.""

Read the full article here.

For me, it's important that these discussions (and acts of empathy) are ongoing, and I've been thinking a lot about how I can incorporate more anti-racism into my work. Expect to see more reflections on how racism is impacting our society, specifically the yogic and nomadic communities.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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