For today’s Mindful Monday post, I would like to speak to the power of empathy. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Being a psychiatrist, this is an opportunity for me to share the courage of each and every one of my patients.
My patients live every day with the burden of mental illness. They face their battles with strength and perseverance. Beyond their direct fight with depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, and other disorders, they deal with the weight of stigma. There is still so much misunderstanding surrounding the nature of mental illness, that my patients often struggle alone. My patients fear discrimination, mockery, and isolation.
Perhaps the most powerful gift I can offer to my patients, is the salve of empathy. I can open my eyes to their story. I can try to put myself in their shoes. I can walk alongside them on the path from illness to recovery as an equal partner.
But empathy does not belong only to the psychiatrist and the patient. Empathy is something all human beings can offer to someone else. Each of us can benefit from compassion. Empathy is what connects us, holds us together. Empathy is what allows each of us to feel understood and loved.
If you have five minutes today, I encourage you to watch the video below. This is a video created by the Cleveland Clinic about how different the world would be if we could empathize with everyone we encounter, even just a bit. Without exaggeration–empathy can change the world.
Wishing you a peaceful week ahead.
With gratitude, Monisha