The power of validation

How being a mother taught me to become more empathetic and understanding

Today marks the second year anniversary of the pandemic. As we reflect on the last two years, we have learned a lot, not just about the virus, but ourselves. Sadly though, the pandemic has brought a lot out a lot of negativity in people. A recent poll conducted by CBC and Angus Reid yesterday found that the pandemic brought the worst out of people. I am not at all surprised by the findings as I know from my own experience how difficult this has been.

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My most recent blog post “Enough is Enough: let’s give our children their lives back,” stirred a lot of comments, feelings and opinions. Which for me is great because that is the whole point of my blog. I love initiating conversation, taking in and learning new perspectives, differing opinions and accepting feedback. Overwhelmingly the response was positive. I did receive a few questions as to why I felt that way and what the implications would be for someone who lets say is immunocompromised. I faced those tough questions with respect, understanding and humility.

I understand that perspective too. As countless provinces move ahead to remove public health guidelines such as vaccine passports and masking, its a huge shift to how we’ve been living over the past two years. For some, it is a positive sign that we going back to normal; and for others it brings on a new level of uncertainty. I talked about uncertainty in a post I wrote nearly two years ago. My reflections were based at the best available information at the time and since then, we have learned so much. In my opinion, based on science and logic, we have the tools to move forward and restore normality again. I think what was forgotten over the course of the last two years though was humility and understanding.

If anything, being a mother to a very spirited child taught me one thing: that it’s so important to validate feelings and concerns.

“I hear you. I see you. I understand how hard this is.”

These words are very powerful and we need to say them to each other more often. Following my most recent blog post, I talked to a lot of people and heard what their concerns are for the future and how this could impact them. As I tell everyone, I am not a healthcare expert, but I am a positive person, and I have a feeling that things will get better.

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As we move forward, remember that this is a huge adjustment for some, so show them some compassion and love. As some of us look forward to going back to normal, others may be apprehensive. My only wish after you read this is understand where they are coming from and talk to them about it, if they are open to. Less judgement, more understanding. Quite frankly, if we all had more of this during this time, perhaps things would have been different, but we will never know for sure. If anything, let’s just be kind to one another going forward. As I read less and less of the “new normal,” let’s strive to make a better normal. For my final thought, I leave you with this:

“If you know the why, you can live any how.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

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