Don’t retreat. Don’t let other people’s patterns become your habit.
Whenever there is a tragedy that consumes our collective imaginations, we gasp and grieve. Some get pulled into news feeds and outlets, and overdose on images replayed endlessly as pundits and witnesses loop through the events until we memorize their phrases, or drown them out in tears.
Others ignore the news, defensively or intentionally. They want to protect THEIR world, from THE world.
There are the agitated, on every side of the issue, those who bellow their ‘I told you so’s’ like crazed prophets; to either defend their opinion or reinforce their worst fears. The ‘what-abouts?’ who thrive with false equivalencies and attempt ‘othering’ the ingredients of the melting pot they do not like. The experts who breathe rarified air, proclaiming the cliched, ‘unless you’ve walked in my shoes, you’ll never know’ argument. Couched as a statement of authority, but its arrogance robs the majority of us, those with differing experiences, the value of empathy.
There are the blissfully unaware; those who do not comprehend or don’t care, or were away attending to other matters. Some, thankfully, are children none the wiser, their innocence preserved a while longer. For others, it is a lifestyle they fervently protect.
If your social media feed is diverse, the cadence is palatable. Well meaning quotes, old YouTube clips presented as evidence, arguments that lack nuance, or even decency. Then the call for kittens or babies, to soothe our soul and calm our nerves. Followed by the return to normalcy, or the attempt to adjust to the new normal.
These are not normal times. These times require your participation. Take a break from social media without announcing it if you must. Walk in nature without your phone if you can. Share a meal with others. Mourn in the way that’s best for you.
Don’t wish for things to return to how they once were because back then, things were far worse for someone you love. Instead, wish and work for a better tomorrow; for yourself and others.
Don’t quit. Be fed up and take action. Practice kindness, generosity, empathy, and gratitude to get you through. Lead from where you are. Reach out and reach up.
Do not retreat because the world is scary, or dangerous, depressing, or overwhelming. Be courageous. Face the dangers and acknowledge the pain. Find a piece, a place, an act that you can do that will make a difference, even if you do not see how or where. Behave with love, kindness, and resolve. Do not retreat. We need you.