As I sit here, I do not know the answers. There are many things going on globally as well as right here in our communities, that are out of my scope of expertise. I see the fear, the change, and the worry going on amongst my friends and loved ones and I am unsure what I can do to ease their minds and their hearts in these times. Though I don’t have all the answers, there is one answer I do know. I will not sit by. I will try to help; in whatever way we all need.
There are a lot of words out there, people speaking out fear, misinformation, and just general doubt. It is overwhelming and as a society we latch onto the bad far more than the good. But as I look beyond the yuck of it all I see good happening. I see the action those in my community are taking to help people who need it. Providing meals for children out of school, picking up groceries for the elderly, helping and promoting small businesses. This is positive action that makes a difference. As I look beyond the grand actions, I see small ones that make just as big of an impact. I see people actively making a point to communicate with those around them. I see teachers of all kinds offering their services virtually. I see online meetups happening all over every social media site to keep peoples spirits high. This is what we need to notice.
As I said, it is easy to latch onto the bad. It is easy to respond negatively to the person lashing out in the comments. So, I offer this. What I know is everybody has likely just had their world turned upside down. We may think we know what people are going through, but we do not. Everybody experiences things differently. Let me repeat that. We all have different lives and though we are encountering the same situation, it is different for every single person. If somebody lashes out, I encourage you to have some grace. Breathe before responding and know you really don’t know what they are going through. Just as they don’t know what you are going through. Acknowledge this and use it as a lesson for all involved. It takes one negative person to dim a room, but it also only takes one on the other side to show the light. We all have a light within us we can always share. Now we need you to share it more than ever. I am not encouraging the act of ignoring our emotions. I am encouraging the opposite. Grace, positivity, and understanding take a ton of work because it requires us to look at ourselves first.
It takes time, practice, and patience to learn how to turn inwards before projecting outwards. Turning inwards to learn about oneself and how we are feeling isn’t an action in and of itself. It is the action of writing, painting, exercising, reading, resting, cooking, breathing, knitting, singing, dancing, walking… the list is endless. By participating in actions that take away the external noise we allow ourselves a moment to listen. An opportunity to let our emotions show themselves humbly. Think of your emotions as a small child, when we don’t give them the attention they require, they lash out, they get loud and there is miscommunication. When you sit with them you find what they really need, what your emotions really are. The most important thing to remember, is regardless of your emotions, you never give them shame. Your emotions are valid. They make you a person. You, as a person, are valid.
Again, I don’t know all the answers. All I know is as we go through these hard times, we can offer ourselves and others grace. We can learn to turn inwards. We can practice a level of self-care that time allows. We can help regardless of how big or small the action is. Ultimately, I know we can get through this.