Compassion fatigue. We all know what it is, even if you haven’t heard the term before. The 24-hour news cycle brings, seemingly every day, previously unfathomable stories of devastation and destruction. Our hearts and minds were not made for it. The natural impulse to care can become exhausting.
After all, I am just one person. You are just one person. What can we do?
Start by looking at the VolunteerMatch Live Map. You’ll see little heart-hands flying around the country and a live ticker tracking all the volunteer connections made on the site. Just now, I saw a connection made at a local nonprofit in my hometown of Canton, Connecticut! There is something so heartening about this. If you scroll through the list, you’ll see a range of cause areas, from social justice, to the environment, to mental health and so many more. Every minute, an individual is turning compassion into action. You are one person, I am one person, but together we are millions of people with the capacity for kindness.
Compassion can fortify rather than fatigue us. You can’t solve the big issues, but you can change the lives of those around you and in turn, be changed. Even the smallest gesture of kindness can create an endless ripple effect of good.
If you are looking for stories of compassion, community, and hope, join me as I travel across the country to meet the people behind the 17 million connections made on VolunteerMatch. Follow along on Instagram @VolunteerMatch and #TheRoadToGood as I meet a Hospice Volunteer in Salt Lake City— a recovering cancer survivor who remained with her organization through COVID-19. A woman in Petaluma who created a senior dog sanctuary after the loss of her beloved furry friend, and a team of Scuba divers in Washington determined to keep their lake clean. And so many more!
Their stories don’t make national news, but they are important, even essential, to the health and happiness of all our lives. My method is simple: learn, connect, and share.