It’s been a while since we last spoke, how are things going for you ? I heard you were having a hard time of things at the moment. Me too. I think a lot of us are.
Do you know why ? I’ve been trying to figure it out too. It seems to me there’s so much going on in the world at the moment, so much violence, hurt and anger it’s hard not to be affected by it. How do you protect yourself from all this negativity without closing off completely? How do you not lose hope when hope no longer seems like a renewable resource?
You need a friend like mine, Heaven Lee. She asked me the best question the other day: “How is your heart?” It’s such a beautiful question, I love this question, we should all ask each other this question more often, at least once a day. It’s impossible to sidestep it with one of those superficial answers – you know the ones, we’ve all used them before (“fine” is a particular favourite of mine). It implores you to dig a little deeper.
But more than asking each other this question, let’s commit to answering it honestly, without judgement, or regret.
How is my heart? My answer today would be, it’s sad. It’s sad for many reasons — some big, some small, some personal, some not so much. The shootings in Orlando and in Birstall and the emotion they stir whey heavy with me and there are times where it’s easy to be overwhelmed by it.
That’s why as well as writing to ask you how your heart is today, I wanted to remind you.
- You’re not “weak.” – Sensitive people like you, who live with an open heart feel things deeply, experience emotions on an intense level. And an open heart is easily broken, that’s not weak, that’s a sign of bravery. Just you being you makes you brave, strong and resilient. Don’t forget that. The world needs you to keep your heart open, to be kind, to do your best.
- You’re not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. Empathetic, sensitive people like you have a special ability, you can really feel the pain of others. It’s can be a magical gift but also a heavy burden. When you feel someone’s pain or displeasure, it’s only natural to want to take that pain away, right? So we contort ourselves socially and emotionally to try to make everyone else happy. Your actions might have a positive intent, but the results are bad for everybody in the long run. You exhaust yourself. People around us learn to pile their feelings onto you to sort out. I’m giving you permission to kick that habit. Being a compassionate, supportive person doesn’t require heroic action or emotional acrobatics. Remember
– Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save, they just stand there shining –
- You don’t have to watch the news. Or even scroll endlessly through Facebook at posts which annoy you. Or follow Instagram accounts that make you feel poor and boring. It may be impossible to tune out all negativity , but you can be proactive in choosing which messages and energies you interact with. You get to decide what to watch, read, listen to, and think about. Protect yourself. Choose accordingly.
- You can’t save the world. So take that weight off your shoulders. There are many little things we can all do to help save the world — be nice to people, recycle, volunteer. So figure out what you CAN do, and do it. And then forgive yourself for the rest.
The world needs you to keep your heart open, to be kind, to do your best. The world is hard enough. Don’t be so hard on yourself.