During stressful and challenging times, when we’re having a hard time coping, it might seem counterintuitive to prioritize giving and showing up for others. But doing exactly that can have a profound impact on those we help as well as on our own resilience and strength. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, there have been plenty of bright spots and small acts of kindness all around us. Each one reminds us that compassion isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a need-to-have for our personal and collective well-being.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us one act of kindness that they’ve seen or experienced during the pandemic. Which of these is inspiring you to be more compassionate?
“In the early days of the pandemic, it was clear that COVID-19 was going to have a devastating impact on our community, both emotionally and financially. My husband and I signed up to volunteer to hand out food through the drive through food pantry distribution by Catholic Charities in Dallas. Nineteen weeks later, we’re still volunteering. It’s hot out, and it’s unbearably humid some days, so it’s hard, physical work. The long lines of cars aren’t getting shorter. However, people thank us and we get so much out of it. Volunteering gives us hope, lets us share fleeting moments of love and joy with those who are struggling, and lets us work out some of our emotional struggles through physical activity. It has saved us during this time.”
—Karen Cooperstein, PR, marketing and philanthropy strategist, Dallas, TX
Being a true ally
“I shared on my neighborhood Facebook page that I was experiencing a lot of anxiety walking alone as a Black person due to the current racial tensions our country was experiencing, especially during the pandemic. I immediately got a private message from someone in the neighborhood, sharing that she’d walk with me while social distancing. She said that no one should feel unwelcome or unsafe in their neighborhood, and that walking should reduce anxiety — not increase it.”
—Joyel Crawford, leadership coach, Westmont, NJ
Supporting working parents
“My colleagues have shown me so much care, respect, understanding, and warmth since the pandemic started. When we started working from home, I had to quickly switch hats between parent and professional during my work days. The kindness of my coworkers has given me peace of mind, confidence, and a feeling of being welcome and understood, which has helped me give my best both as a parent and a team member.”
—Francesco Onorato, business development, Phoenix, AZ
Showing compassion to someone who’s sick
“When I got diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in April, my team and colleagues were very supportive and understanding. I am now going through radiation as the next and final step of treatment. I felt guilty leaving the team for a few weeks and not being able to work, especially as everyone is struggling with not seeing each other in the office. Last week, I received a surprise care package with personal notes and items to help me recover and relax. I am so grateful to have colleagues who care about me, show compassion, and take the time to find ways to help.”
—Isabelle Bart, marketing director, Orange County, CA
Reconnecting with a friend
“During lockdown, I received a phone call from my friend, Kelly. We hadn’t spoken in months and I immediately thought something must be wrong, so I answered the phone apprehensively. Kelly must have recognized this as she cheerfully explained she was simply calling to check in and make sure I was doing okay. She wanted to spread some love and happiness to an old friend, and I was grateful and felt blessed she had chosen to call me. We had a lovely call and promised to check in on each other more often. I was inspired by Kelly’s actions and after the call, and I reached out to four friends hoping that I had the same impact on them that Kelly did on me. I like to think that one phone call from Kelly produced a butterfly effect beyond our home town.”
—Jody Woodbridge, writer, Cheshire, England
Reaching out to strangers
“I had a marketing executive reach out to me in a Facebook group, simply to see how she can help and support me, an African American female business owner. She wanted to not only be an ally, but to share my business with her network. We’ve had two Zoom calls and she will be interviewing me next week. I’m very appreciative that she reached out and use her platform to help other businesses — especially African American women-owned businesses.”
—Akilah Darden, president of The Darden Group, Indianapolis, IN
Is there an act of kindness that you’ve experienced during the pandemic that’s inspired you to pay it forward? Share it with us in the comments.
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