I’m thinking about you.
Yes, you. The person reading this right now. I’m thinking about you.
I’m thinking about you, and I hope you’re doing well. But I know that might not be the case, especially now. You may be thinking “you don’t even know me” or “you have no idea how I feel,” and you would be right. Maybe I don’t know you. I can’t possibly know how you feel. But I’m still thinking about you.
I’m thinking about you, and I care about you. I’m serious. Pinky promise.
So why am I telling you this? To make you smile? I hope so. But it’s more than that. So often, I find myself writing about how to recognize when someone needs your support. How to put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine how they might be struggling. Empathy is one of those words I write about so much that sometimes I start to think it’s not even English anymore. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I’ve given you the “why.” I’ve told you my story. I’ve spent hours upon hours explaining why we, as people and as a society, need to do a better job of having empathy and support for each other. But the “why” is just context. On it’s own, the “why” is powerless. Who cares why we need empathy if we don’t know how to show it? That’s where the other half comes in. The “how.”
How can we effectively support one another? How can we show empathy in a real, tangible way that actually helps someone? We know we need to have conversations. But how do we start them? Who do we talk to? And what do we say first?
That’s where the 4 words come in.
“I’m thinking about you.”
I’m. Thinking. About. You. 4 words, 18 letters (if I counted right), and yet they have the power to do so much good.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I send or receive a text with those words, I smile. It makes me feel good. Sure, maybe it seems a little awkward to message someone you haven’t spoken to in weeks. And I know it’s uncomfortable sending that first text to someone after they’ve experienced a tragedy. But the anxiety and fear we associate with reaching out is so small compared to the difference those few words make to the person hearing them.
It could be that your message is the first text they’ve received all day and they finally have the chance to open up to someone. Or maybe they don’t have the energy to text you back, but seeing those words flash on their screen makes them smile and power through the next few hours. Those 4 words can be the difference between someone feeling like no one cares and like someone does. So be the person who cares. Be the person who doesn’t just know why empathy is important, but who actually uses it to make today better for someone.
Having empathy means stepping out of your world and into someone else’s. And it doesn’t have to be for a long time- they just have to know you’re there.
So I have a task for you. I need you to pick one person. Any person. Try to pick someone you haven’t talked to in a few days, or weeks, or months. And send them 4 words: I’m thinking about you. It can be a text, a card, a telegram, I don’t care. Just make sure they hear them.
We’re living in a really hard time right now. A time that has forced a lot of us to stay shut away in our own worlds, unsure of how to step into others’. But just because we can’t touch other people doesn’t mean we can’t think about them. So tell someone you’re thinking about them. Tell them that you want to know how they’re doing not just to be polite, but because you actually care. Send that text (or that card or that telegram) and step inside their world for a moment. I promise you’ll both feel better for it.