Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy. Do we need to have gone through the same experiences to have empathy for others? Or can we have empathy even if we haven’t had shared experiences? And if not, how can we truly identify with one another’s struggles, pain, and heartbreaks? I’ve been thinking about this so much lately because since March, we’ve been in this strange place of physical separation, yet connection through video calls and the internet.
For the last eight months, the entire world has been sharing the experience of going through this pandemic. So many of us curiously watch and monitor the cases in our communities, states, and countries… and we’re waiting, hoping for it to pass. Meanwhile, we are trying to stay inspired so that we can face a future that feels still so unknown. And we’re hoping that our loved ones stay safe and healthy throughout it all.
So we try and stay calm. We stay busy with things that bring us a sense of stability: laundry, cooking, work, online classes, online social events, and phone calls with family.
Humans are so resilient. When things go back to “normal,” we know that our lives will be forever changed.
As for me, I can’t even tell you the last time I left my home. And what’s weird is that I feel my body not knowing how I will resume once I do start leaving the house again. And with that, what will I want to resume? And I know we are all feeling the same. I know it.
So even though we aren’t in each other’s exact bodies, we have been sharing this soulful experience that transcends distance and our physical selves.
This week in particular, when I close my eyes, I feel like I can hear the whispers of relief and grief shared by so many.
So much healing to be done. And we need to do it together.
The original blog was published in the Salimpour School blog on November 13, 2020.