Empathy can sound like empty. It must not be confused. We all need to display empathy at this time. Empathy is our ability to understand and actually share the feelings of others. It is literally to immerse ourselves in their feelings and not the glib and crass; “to understand people walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you choose to criticise them, you’ll be a mile away with their shoes”.
There are so many deserving people who truly display their talents in times of crisis. Clearly our healthcare workers and first responders deserve our empathy and gratitude. But so too our politicians and legislators. All those who keep the supply chains moving must not be forgotten. Arguably the most deserving of all are us ordinary citizens who have dramatically adjusted our lives to accommodate a bizarre sequence of events.
Despite obvious concerns and a growing number of fatalities, confidence is high that the worst will be over soon; and that some semblance of normality will return. The lessons we learn from this tragedy will define us. If we return unchanged then, we have learned nothing. We must come back with a stronger resolve that our empathy for others is wholeheartedly front and centre. What a warm feeling that would portray! Imagine no bickering politicians! No snide hurtful remarks! Cleaned-up twitter feeds! Positive, wholesome endorsements of forthright behaviour! We can achieve this if we learn from what we have accomplished at this time.
It is disappointing to note that the Financial Regulator has found it necessary to write to all financial intermediaries reminding them that they must take care of their customers properly and ensure that they show empathy to their plight. Surely, we have not reached a point in our existence where some would seek to take advantage of others during this adversity!
Maybe MMPI is naïve! Maybe we are alone in our thinking that now, more than ever, is where empathetic emotions are an absolute necessity. A caring word to comfort those who are worried about their mortgage. A comforting confirmation that the insurance policy is valid and will meet a claim. Absolute assurance to next-of-kin that their loved ones are financially protected. There are so many instances and so many situations where a comforting cuddle (if it was allowed) is exactly what’s required. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
Surely this is empathy in its purest form – showing real concern for others. All MMPI’s staff are working remotely. We had contingency plans in place to cover this type of eventuality – never dreaming it would be caused by a global pandemic. We considered it might involve a flood or a hurricane or nuclear fall-out but not this. Naturally, this is not normal – but we have sufficient resources to ensure that our customers can continue to reach us by telephone, e-mail and through social media. We are in touch with those who are awaiting approvals or renewals at this time. Empathy, now, is exactly what’s needed.