Coronavirus (COVOID-19) – showing compassion in a time of uncertainty

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The measures put in place by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have already had a huge impact on daily life and we know it is an incredibly difficult time for FHT members.

Staff at FHT felt inspired by a message from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, and felt it would be nice to share at what is an unsettling time for all. 

Elizabeth Gilbert writes, ‘Dear Ones—For now, the only thing I have to say about the Coronavirus is this: Let’s not judge people too fiercely for how they are reacting to this situation. It may be the case that people are overreacting, or it may be that they are under-reacting….it’s not my place to judge that. I don’t have all the answers and I can’t see into the future—no more than anybody else can. But I do know that when I add my condemnation to the conversation, it just ratchets up hysteria in a different way—and most of all, it’s not kind. If you believe that somebody is overreacting, just try to remember that another word for “overreaction” is “fear”. Try to be compassionate, not contemptuous. We don’t all share the same fears, but we all know what fear feels like, and it’s a terrible sensation. I wouldn’t wish fear on anybody, and I know that a lot of people are genuinely afraid right now. I have no way of knowing how many people are going to suffer physically from this virus, but I do know that millions of people are already suffering from it emotionally—and those people need love, not contempt. Those people are my brothers and sisters. Let me never forget my compassion for their anxiety, rather than telling them how they should or should not be feeling. And let me also show a strong measure of mercy to the people across the world who are running institutions, schools, governments, and companies right now. Those people are faced with the supremely unenviable task of trying to figure out how to respond to this crisis responsibly. There is no playbook. They will make mistakes. They will overreact; they will under react. They are human beings in an impossible dilemma. I would not wish to be the person faced with such massive, impactful decisions right now. Let me show compassion to them. Let me show compassion to all. And let me never stop asking: “How can I help?”’

The FHT is continuously updating its statement in line with the latest government guidance. Please visit fht.org.uk/coronavirus to stay up-to-date.

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