There are days that are going to be really hard to get through. That’s a fact.
What you do with that day, the feelings you feel, the decisions you make, the lessons you learn, even the anger you harbour; that is your choice.
In the adversarial environment that is, more often than not, the law, it’s easy to forget that we’re human and so are our opponents, our work colleagues, our clients.
Particularly because of the nature of the legal environment, honesty of ones feelings and vulnerability aren’t traits that are necessarily celebrated. This is a real shame; that conversation about the value of these things is a topic for another day.
What I think is important is that we are mindful of the human element of law. To see through the law, the procedure, the client demands and remind ourselves that we are only human. And, importantly, treat others the way we would want to be treated. Yes, that’s an old age adage but how true is it?!
Show compassion, be kind, be human.
I remember walking into the Supreme Court only a few months ago and I smiled, as I always do, to greet the guards at the security desk. I greeted them with a “Good morning”, they returned the welcome and smiled, quite genuinely. I then walked away, after sending my well wishes to them for the rest of the day, and I overheard one of them say to their colleague how nice it was to be smiled at and greeted. It was a bitter sweet moment. I was so pleased that I had a positive impact, and so sad that it was a rarity that promoted comment. Needless to say, the experience stuck with me.
It may be the smallest of gestures, but the value of such a gesture is immeasurable and unknown.
You never know the battles, be it personal or professional, that someone is going through and your small gesture of support, a small smile just because or offering to help them collate documents, can make such a significant difference to a person who is suffering in silence. You could help them through their day, week or even just the next hour (!), by showing your humanity and applying kindness and acceptance in your engagement.
Wellness is so important and so is being a good human. Help your colleagues to maintain their own wellness. Ask the question “are you OK?” (And not just on RU OK? Day – although yes, do it then too!).
You don’t have to have the answers to their problems; you only need ears to listen.
Great things are done by a series of small things done together – Vincent Van Gogh