How are you holding up, Well-Beings? It’s been a difficult couple of weeks, hasn’t it? The merciless events in both Charlottesville and Barcelona are weighing so heavily on my heart, as I’m sure they are with you, too. I know that division is nothing new, but damnit. How is it ever okay to take the life of an innocent person for simply not being like you? The only good thing that ever comes out of these senseless acts are the crusaders and heroes that rise up, take charge, and lead us toward change. I’ve always wanted to be as strong as they are in the face of unbelievable adversity, but I simply never felt like I had enough of the grit and daring that those roles require. Still though, I could never shake the feeling that my empathy was a sign that I should contribute in some way. That it was strategically given to me so I could do something that would comfort and encourage others. I just didn’t know how to help without my soft-heart getting in the way.
Here’s the thing, not everyone is cut out to fight the battle from the front lines. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with not being blessed with the natural ability to speak out, lead rallies, and start revolutions. That doesn’t mean you’re powerless, it means you’re more valuable in a support role. It’s something I realized when my grandmother passed away unexpectedly several years ago. My family was suddenly faced with a number of extremely difficult decisions to make, and though I wasn’t very good with handling those details because of my tender heart, I saw that I could provide comfort to my family in other ways that would serve those I loved. I fed people and made sure everyone was drinking plenty of water. I cleaned up. I did laundry. I ran errands. I did the things that no one else had the time or the energy to think about, and in my own way, I think I stepped up when it mattered.
If you’re not quite sure where you fit, but know that you need to do something when tragedy strikes, below are some suggestions for my sensitive souls:
- Get Involved – One of the best ways to help is to find an organization doing good things in the world to promote social justice, feed and clothe those in need, and spread a message of peace and love to all. Volunteer your time when you can and support them with financial donations, no matter how small, when you can’t.
- Be An Ally, a Safe Place, and a Good Listener – Be there to comfort and encourage your friends. When attacks, either international or local to you, are racially motivated, target people of a specific religion, or are aimed at someone based on how they identify or who they love, reach out and let them know that you’re there for them. Let them talk. Let them cry. You don’t have to have the answers, just support them with your presence.
- Be an Includer and an Encourager – Most of us know what it’s like to be the new kid or to feel singled out for one reason or another. If you see someone being picked on at school or work, invite them to sit with you. Share a meal with them. Make it a point to be a friendly face who earnestly checks in on them, and makes sure they’re doing okay. You have no idea how much difference you can make in a person’s life by just having the courage to be kind.
If your heart is broken by tragedy and you want to contribute, I hope that you never mistake your softness for weakness and that you never let it stop you from sharing your greatest gift with the world. You, with so much love to give to those who are hurting, are not weak. Your tenderness carries more influence than you realize. It carries hope, and that’s what’s going to get us through this.
Wishing You Total Well-Being,