Be it a natural disaster affecting thousands or an illness that came upon a friend, we have all witnessed pain and suffering of other humans around us
I'm writing this on 10/02/2023. The week didn't start good in my home country, Turkey.
Maybe you've heard of it by now, there's been a devastating earthquake in southeast Anatolia (close to the border with Syria).
The latest news I heard (last night) said more than 20000 people had lost their lives and more than 80000 people were wounded... Only in Turkey. Based on the search and rescue efforts until now...
The size of the earthquake was 7.8 Mww but there is no measure that quantifies the magnitude of the disaster that has happened.
No roads or airports anymore to bring help.
No hospitals anymore to take care of the wounded.
No water, no heating, no electricity... and ice cold weather.
It's one of those moment where I feel completely powerless in the face of human suffering, because there is nothing I can do to bring back what is lost.
I'm sure you felt this feeling of powerlessness before, because it is merely one of the many feelings that is available to us, as human beings.
Be it a natural disaster affecting thousands or an illness that came upon a friend, we have all witnessed pain and suffering of other humans around us.
For this reason, I propose that we think about how we approach human suffering, and what we do about it.
Many of us feel small (if not insignificant) in the face of human suffering where we can't really change the outcome - but we don't have to give up on supporting others.
If you know a thousand people suffering, you can still help one person in a small way- and that counts.
Some of us are afraid that, if we offer help of comfort, we will put ourselves in a position where we will have to take responsibility to go all the way in alleviating that suffering. However, you don’t have to give more that you are able to.
It takes a village (or the entire world) to alleviate suffering. You can’t do it alone, and you don’t have to. But your contribution, which may be very little for you, could have a much bigger effect on the person or situation.
If you want to delve deeper into different ways of supporting people around you who are going through a tough time, I strongly recommend you to read the book “There is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love” by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell.
Even though this book is mostly about how we can show up for the individuals who are going through a hard time, it also helps you tap into the empathy and compassion inside you, without overdoing it - because, you can't pour from an empty cup.
As for me, after considering various ways to help alleviate the pain of the victims of the earthquake, I decided to make regular donations to the disaster relief organizations that I trust.
This year, at least 10% of my income from coaching will go to these organizations, who have the appropriate reach and know-how to make a difference.
PS: If you're also considering to make a donation for the earthquake victims in Turkey, AHBAP is an organization that I trust.
Credit: Photo by moein rezaalizade on Unsplash.
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