This was an extremely difficult blog post for me to write. My emotions have been all over the place this past week. I’ve experienced feelings of anger, fear, sadness, and hopelessness, among others. But I mostly felt grief for all the innocent lives that were lost in the shooting last Tuesday in Uvalde. My heart breaks for their families and loved ones. I can’t imagine the pain they are going through right now. Their lives are completely shattered from this traumatic event.
Deaths in general are difficult enough to process, but those that are brought on by other human beings are so hard for me to wrap my head around. Little kids are not supposed to be murdered in school. The lives of 19 innocent children and 2 teachers were lost at the hand of one disturbed and angry 18 year old. An 18 year old should not be able to get their hands on an assault weapon, much less purchase them legally.
I am still having a hard time processing and making sense of it all. But I know sometimes acts like these are completely senseless. I don’t understand how anyone can be so heartless and cruel to be able to do something like this. I am exhausted of the hatred and violence currently in the world today. The world feels broken right now.
One thing this past week that has been very helpful for me is allowing myself the space and time to process my emotions. I was able to get help from a coach with this and it gave me relief from the magnitude of my feelings. I have always been a very sensitive person in the sense that I sometimes take on what other people feel, unintentionally. When I see someone crying, I have a hard time not crying as well.
I used to wish this was something I could change about myself. I often feel more than I want to at times. In these particular types of tragedies, I wish I could shut off my emotions. But I know that it is all part of being human, to feel it all. Sometimes, I have to protect my mental health by not watching the news or taking a break from it when it feels like it is too much.
When people don’t have the skillset of understanding their emotions; it can result in harmful repercussions that could show up in two different ways. They could lash outward, by having anger and hatred towards others, and act out through violence. Or, they can lash inward, turning their negative feelings internally, by hurting themselves or even trying to take their own lives.
Remember that it’s okay not to be okay when bad things happen in the world. We want to horrified and upset when tragic things happen. Allow yourself to process your emotions. Feeling your feelings is an extremely helpful tool that many of us have never been taught. It is natural for people to ignore or avoid feelings that feel bad. We don’t want to feel angry, or sad, or hurt; so we push them away. As a result, we don’t know how to effectively process our emotions. And we don’t know how to teach our children how to process their emotions. Don't run away from your feelings, they could be telling you something.
The people in this country have been feeling a lot of emotions this past week. We should be devastated and outraged that this happened and most likely will happen again. Mass shootings are no longer a shock to our society, and that in itself is an incredibly heartbreaking fact. This isn’t a blog about politics. I won’t pretend that I understand how it all works. But something needs to be done. Our system is failing its people.
I don’t want to be numb to these kinds of tragedies just because our society has normalized violence. I don’t want to move on with our lives as if nothing happened because it’s easier to do that. I would like to learn more about what can be done. I want to be a part of the solution.
We see what we focus on. If we focus on the cruelty and senselessness of the event through the hands of one human; we miss out on the heartache and anguish of those who are directly affected by this. It is easy to get angry at the politics of it all. But in doing so, we ignore the humanity of the situation. We fail to see there are things we can do after we grieve.
If we all give up because of the idea that we are just one person, and one person can’t make a difference; I challenge you to look at this differently. Let’s say our goal is to build a massive imaginary wall against violence and hatred. What if each of us only needs to move one or two bricks to help create this wall? If each of us just plays one small part towards this impossible feat, it can seem less daunting.
If we throw up our hands and admit defeat to something that seems so much bigger than us, we are allowing evil to rule our world. If you are wondering if one person’s effort will even matter, know that it does. There are trickle affects that happen when there is movement of any kind. Wouldn’t you want to contribute to a world where there is more love and less hate?
Allowing anger and resentment to fester inside us just builds more hatred. What this world needs is more love and understanding, not hate that turns into violence. One person who has carried a lot of unmanaged anger and hatred inside of them can do so much harm. But the opposite is also true. One person who carries compassion and love for others can do so much good. Don’t disregard the impact of just one person. Don’t discount what you can do.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandi