So. This "era" we are existing in. The time of Covid-19. A time of political upheaval.
A time of human upheaval. No matter what side you are looking in from, you cannot deny this veracious exposure of our humanness. Nobody is immune to it. As difficult as the experience is, though, this is how growth happens. Growth comes from chaos and pain and discomfort. Who among us is not experiencing some level of chaos, pain, or discomfort?
The true test, however, lies with our ability to be accountable to our contributions to the chaos and pain and discomfort. You know. We can't change others. We can only change ourselves. In so doing, however, we can effect change in the people and environment around us. Our focus must be on ourselves, though. When we look only to changing what is outside of us we live in complete denial of self. The questions then becomes "What am I afraid to acknowledge about myself?"
There is a great deal of effort being made today by many to try and change the attitudes and perspectives and behavior of others. Arguments and hate-filled comments have
taken over social media. We blame politics and politicians, this movement or that movement. But, truly, we are responsible for how we express ourselves around these topics. We are human. Humans are reactive. Reactivity is triggered by uncontrolled emotion like sadness or anger. Every single one of us has given into the trigger on multiple occasions. This is okay. As I said, we are human. It is what we do. The trouble ensues when we let our reactiveness take the helm.
Anyone who knows me well knows a few things about me.... 1) I call it like I see it. I always, have, in fact. 2) I am a highly-sensitive person and empath.
There is nothing inherently wrong with either of these traits. In fact, I feel blessed to call them mine. Combined, and left unchecked, however, they can get me into trouble. For instance... I say something, or share a social media post that explicitly illustrates my perspective on something. Somebody disagrees in a markedly uncomfortable and disrespectful way. I engage. When I don't create some space between the comment and my reaction, it is just that: reactive. I let my emotions, often displaced, drive my words, and, in turn, I say something that likely feels equally uncomfortable and disrespectful. Then, I am left feeling anxious and angry and overwhelmed by all the negative feelings that accompany these sort of interactions. Feel me?
If, however, I take a step back from the comment. Breathe. And breathe a bit more. My emotions settle (breathing actually does this), and I am better able to see the situation with compassion. For myself and the other person. I can choose to respond, or not, and I can actually control what that response looks and feels like. Of late, I find myself typing and deleting and moving on. I am pretty proud of this, really. It is a work in progress. It takes effort. It makes me feel, though, that I am contributing in a healthier way.
I am committed to being better, but I am only human, so I am certain I will piss off some more people along the way. (Even when I am not trying.) The thing about being an empath is that I can "see" people more deeply than most. I will often sense things about people that are really difficult for me to understand, and before they even speak, I am reacting to who they are. The thing is, though, who they are is not for me to understand. But, I am a nurturer, so I have often found myself trying to heal things about people that they don't even know they need healing from. If you don't know me, you can probably imagine this could be incredibly off-putting or annoying. If you do know me....maybe a lightbulb just lit up?
All this is to say, that what I am discovering is that I have more control over how the world around me feels than I may have wanted to accept or acknowledge. I continue to show up and participate. Just in a more mindful way. Usually. As for the idea of leaving the conversation by quitting social media, etc., I completely honor and respect the need to take a break, to know your limitations. Don't avoid the difficult stuff for too long, though, because avoiding the hard stuff does not give you the opportunity to practice and grow.
Love and Light!
PS: Photo credit: Chris Migeon
This photo of El Capitan, Yosemite, reminds me of the significance and impact of overcoming obstacles after watching the documentary Free Solo.