I’m not going to beat around the bush here – the world is a shit storm and its been raging for sometime. Every time you turn on the television or scroll through your Facebook feed there are reminders of hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings, a shooting on a college campus (at my youngest son’s school, no less), missing children, threats of nuclear war, racism, sexual harassment and threats of losing health care. And don’t get me started on politics.
There are people who are grieving. There are people who are hurting. There are people who are scared. There are people who have lost everything. There are people who have witnessed horrors upon horrors.
And there are people like me, where I may not be personally in the middle of these tragedies (though I have friends and family who are), but rather experience “weltschmerz”, the German word for “world pain.” *
It’s when the weight of the pain and suffering of events crawls inside and leaves us feeling heavy and sad for the state of those directly affected.
If so, I want you to take the time to read this next line:
You have permission to take care of yourself when the world is a shit storm.
Please know it’s not your responsibility to watch hours of news coverage. It’s not needed that you consume story after story on these national or world events.
It’s okay to laugh, to love. It’s okay to delete the Facebook app from your phone. It’s okay to stop everything you are doing and sob into a pillow. It’s okay to go to the movies, to do your work, to soak in a tub of flowery essence. It’s okay to put on your favorite blouse and wear the red lipstick. Take the sick day and watch a sappy movie. Find a patch of grass and stand barefooted, deeply rooting to the earth. Walk among the trees and listen to the birds. And for goodness sake, please lovingly say no to the next person who asks you for one more, teeny-tiny favor.
Yes, I realize there is a definite privilege in being able to turn away and choose not to be involved in current affairs. And this is where I say, it’s also okay to be the advocate. It’s more than okay to volunteer and help those in need, so make the donations and heal with your words and love.
But please, remember that you also need to care for yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
Those of us with deep feelings, the sensitive souls, need care that only we know how to provide for ourselves. Often, that means doing things that others won’t understand. And that’s okay. That caring heart of yours needs what it needs to be able to hold the care for many.
Do what you need to do and take the courageous act of carrying on.
* Special thanks to my copy coach, Misha Hettie of Uncommonly Good Biz for naming this feeling for me and talking through my own weltschmerz.
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