Truth: These days it can feel particularly challenging to maintain our balance and well-being when hit with the constant barrage of atrocious and emotionally triggering news. It’s so very hard to get our heads around celebrity suicides, traumatized children in cages, a rise in hate crimes and numerous groups having their basic rights denied and threatened to be taken away. It’s so natural to feel very defeated and scared.
Living through this time period is terrifying. Accordingly, we also have to remember that this is not the first time things have been really awful in America. This country has a history where democracy has been consistently nonexistent for so many groups of people. Let us remember that America has a legacy of Japanese internment camps, slavery, laws that support racial, gender and sexual orientation discrimination and the list goes on. We cannot minimize the horrifying times in our past or the realities that exist today. However, right now we have an important choice to make. We can either get caught up in defeat or work to understand the wrongs of our past and commit to becoming more courageous, resilient and responsible moving forward.
It is imperative to acknowledge the challenging part of history we are living in and to also look at how we got here. We can move forward through uniting and focusing our energy on what we want to create and where we need to heal. I believe in humanity and that we are capable of holding ourselves to a higher standard. Are you confused on how to stand up against the Trump regime and also how to protect yourself from symptoms of anxiety and depression? If yes, you aren’t alone. Below please find my 5 tips on how you can stand up for humanity (and yourself) during these scary times. We are stronger together and I believe unity will create a more peaceful and kinder world. Take care of yourself and each other and never ever give up working towards a brighter future!
How to stand up for humanity (and yourself) during scary times:
Tip 1: Get politically involved.
Yes, I have feelings I had to work through directed at those who didn’t vote. Nevertheless, this isn’t the time to point fingers or place blame on people who weren’t previously politically involved. We need to collaborate together, move forward and vote in local and state elections. Let’s not only get involved but we also need to make a commitment to support others in getting invested and accountable for their civic participation. Let’s make our voices heard and have people we respect represent us! I love seeing more and more women have running for office! In U.S. House and Senate races 67 percent more women are now running compared to 2016. Diversity makes us stronger. Get involved and invested in political action.
Tip 2: Focus energy on what you want to heal.
If you are feeling called to activism, do it fully from a place of love and intentionally. We are indeed are “stronger together” and need those willing to protest, rally, write letters, speak out, make phone calls etc. If you are feeling inspired to donate money, do it! So many frontline organizations need financial support to carry out their mission. There is a lot to do and no one can do it all. But you can prioritize and focus on an important issue and devote your energy there. Likewise, if something drains you or leaves you feeling hopeless, find some other way to get involved. Being focused and prioritizing will support you in being committed without the overwhelm or risk if burnout.
Tip 3: This is a marathon not a sprint.
We need to be realistic and recognize that major change rarely happens overnight. Likewise, the world will quickly knock us over with its tragedy and trauma if we allow it to. Compassion fatigue and burnout are very real. Let’s pace ourselves and not forget to prioritize self-care. Meditate, get sleep, be healthy, laugh, give and receive hugs and take breaks. When we can’t function because of exhaustion, compassion fatigue and/or burnout, we become less effective and capable. Let’s remember to pace ourselves, this is a marathon not a sprint.
Tip 4: Be aware and responsible for privilege (that’s white privilege, male privilege and class privilege).
Yes, let’s please watch out for this one. Privileged groups have (and continue to do) a lot of damage through being blind, irresponsible and benefiting from the hardships of others for far too long. White privilege, male privilege and class privilege have economically and socially benefited from oppressing others. It’s time to listen and learn from, marginalized communities. People of color, women, immigrants, those living in poverty, and the chronically ill are very vulnerable to the damaging policies in this administration. Let’s really listen and learn from the people at risk. Additionally, let’s bring greater awareness and responsibility to privilege.
Tip 5: Don’t Minimize or Normalize Abuse!
I go back to Martin Niemöller’s poem;
‘First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.’
We must not remain silent when atrocities are occurring. When lives are at stake strong emotional reactions are not only appropriate and healthy but also necessary. Gaslighting is a form of mental and emotional abuse, designed to plant seeds of self-doubt through altering perceptions of reality, by presenting those who are victimized as the problem. Zawn Villines writes is the San Diego Free Press “Tone-policing is a way to de-legitimize matters of life and death. It prioritizes the feelings of those who put babies in cages over those they want to cage. It’s also not new. Moderates also suggested that Jews in Nazi Germany should calm down, quit being angry, and find ways to work with Hitler.” Let’s commit to speaking up and never normalizing or excusing abusive and dangerous behavior.
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Sending you peaceful thoughts and wishes for brighter days.