Who, these days, is not walking around, traumatized by the video of George Floyd’s murder? To say nothing of the painful realities of systemic racism, police violence, and protracted social injustice once again brought to the surface. Appalling. Scary. Disgusting.
That our country still harbors such extreme racism feels too much to swallow. And with a week of protests and political upheaval - all amidst COVID-19 lockdowns and fears - it feels like our country is breaking at the seams.
We don’t know quite how to respond. How can we deal with all that’s going on outside, while still being warned to stay inside? Depending on where you live, if you’re not self-quarantining, you might have been under curfew. This is not a situation most Americans have ever, ever dealt with.
You might feel angry, guilty, or stunned at what happened. Nauseated from that video. Nauseated by the political response. Nauseated by the evolving fallout. The barbaric murder, the complicit bystanders, the delay to justice. To watch these unfolding events is to be left with a hole in our hearts from this tragedy, and it isn’t hard to wonder what we can do.
When we feel like we have no recourse, it’s time to take a step back, and pause.
Our emotions can become overwhelming if we don’t know how to sort them, much less what to do with them. This can happen when we feel powerless over horrible events we can’t control
It can help to remind ourselves that we will feel better when we can direct our anxious feelings into helpful action, even if that simply means showing more love and compassion to the people in our homes, and communities.
We can educate ourselves, we can be active on social media, we can advocate, or we can choose not to participate publicly, take a media break, and continue quiet reflection. What we do is less important than the decision to do something. We. Have. Choices.
Exercising our choices is how we engage, channel our anxiety, and take control. There is no one right way to respond, no one right thing to do. But there are many helpful lists and options being suggested (some of which I list below).
For all of us, what we do with our emotions will be different. The key is to tap into what your particular anxiety is trying to tell you, and do something with it that is within our control, and productive. It can be as small or as big as you want it to be. This will help you maintain the balance you need to move ahead.
Wishing you a peaceful and restorative weekend,