In Response to the Shootings…
I don’t know about you, but after the most recent school shooting, the bombings in Austin, and the hundreds of other profoundly sad acts of violence that are occurring all too regularly, I have felt tremendous sadness and frustration.
Here are my feelings and thoughts…
My heart feels so heavy…
When is enough, enough?
What I think is that these horrendous acts of murder are just a symptom.
The deeper problem that we are facing is that people are hurting. This young man in the recent shooting and the many others who have hurt and killed others and themselves are acting out.
I DO NOT condone this behavior. It is terrible and heart-breaking.
And it is important to look beneath the surface.
It is about people of all ages and stages feeling loved, heard, and accepted. It is about adults, parents, and educators leading by example.
It is about compassionate conversations at home and in the classroom.
It is about allowing ourselves and each other to feel our feelings as they come up instead of stuffing them down. Because all of these ignored, stuffed feelings will eventually come out. They can come out as an explosion or an implosion. Explosions can range from anger to violence, and murder to terrorism. Implosions can range from over-eating to drugs, and isolation to suicide.
What is the answer? It starts with a safe place to vent. We must allow young people, and all people for that matter, to feel their feelings without judgement.
So that we can live in a world where people aren’t in so much pain.
So that we can prevent future school shootings. So that we can put an end to bullying.
Life is hard, but we are not alone. We are all human and we all suffer, and that suffering is what unites us all.
Imagine a world where we could feel more empowered to feel our feelings rather than feeling ashamed by them?
Imagine a world where we had people who would listen without judgment and tell us that we aren’t alone… we aren’t crazy, bad or wrong. What if we could stop looking for someone to blame when we are heart-broken, and rather turn to one another from a place of love?
Compassion is the answer to uniting our divided world.
Understanding that everyone has a story is one way to grow compassion. Do you know the story behind someone else’s face? Have you considered your story and why you feel the way you do?
Are you feeling heart-broken because there was yet another school shooting? Did you lose someone you love? Do you feel afraid for your own children? Do you feel like we need to take action? Do you feel like you wish you could help? Do you feel numb?
My mom used to say, “no one can take away your feelings,” and I share that with you now because we all have the right to feel how we feel.
What we don’t have the right to do is kill each other. What ISN’T serving us as humans is judging what we don’t understand and blindly leading with hate and thinking we are better than others … because that only creates more hate and more pain.
It is not possible to heal hate with hate.
We must love. We must find compassion. It is okay to be angry and scared. It is okay to feel devastated and frustrated.
I urge you to find love, consider that everyone has a story, and put on your compassion hat and grief colored glasses.
We need to create compassionate conversations for a kinder world. Let’s keep the conversation alive, AND try to learn from the other side. Try validating someone else rather than arguing with them. Try acknowledging rather than dismissing and diminishing. Listen deeply and normalize. Be curious.
Only then can we begin to heal.
Disclaimer: I recognize that this is a highly complicated subject, and I don’t claim to know all of the answers. What I know and what I am speaking about are the areas in which I feel like I can shed some light: grief and compassion because I have helped thousands of people through their grieving experiences.
If you struggle to support the people in your life, please order The Compassion Code: How to say the right thing when the wrong thing happens. I offer really simple ways for you to grow your compassion without burning yourself out.