Identify which of your friends relates most emphatically with others.
One of my friends has cancer. I told her I want to help, help her family when she gets treatment, look after her kids when her husband has to work, anything which will make her (and their) life easier while she gets treatment.
Thank you, she said. Thank you for aways being so friendly and nice. I am very lucky to have neighbours like that. Thank you for wanting to help me. You are very kind.
Now, I am that kind of person who gets mad or depressed when a disease strikes. (Even asthma, my old and trusted friend, makes me blue sometimes. (In the face! Hah!)) If my doctor told me that I had cancer, or some other serious disease, I would have either been angry with everyone or felt very sorry for myself.
In either case, I would have shunned people and I wouldn’t have smiled at all for many weeks.
She, on the other hand, is still the light of the street. She is still the neighbour with the brightest smile, she still laughs and asks about how everyone else are doing. I had no idea that something was wrong untill she told me, and even then she somehow said it with light and laughter in her voice.
Not a smile with despair lurking beneath the surface, not a smile of denial (I’M FINE I’M FINE I’M FINE I’M FINE I’M FINE), but a smile of optimism and joy. Despite knowing full well that the next year or so will be tough.
I want to be like that. I want to care about others that much. (She made me feel good for wanting to help!) I want to have that kind of happiness and empathy as default mode.
2014 will probably be a tough year for her. The least I can do is to help her and her family make it a good year after all.
2015 will be much better.