Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

  • Mood:

Responding to Atrocities

Quoted from Vu Le, creator of the nonprofit management site Nonprofit With Balls:

"The events of the past few days are horrific, and many of us get into this line of work because we are empathetic by nature. That means that often we will feel things acutely and also absorb others’ emotions like a sponge. In light of all this, we should take a moment to acknowledge:

* If you’ve been feeling angry, sad, or helpless, all your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone.
* If you want to do something, but you have no clue what, and you feel like crap, you’re definitely not alone.
* If you don’t even know what to feel, and you’re just numb or confused, that’s valid too, and you’re not alone.
* If you’ve been watching the videos obsessively, losing hope in the world, your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone.
* If you don’t want to watch the videos at all, maybe because you don’t think you can handle it, your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone.
* If you’ve been frustrated by the lack of civility and thoughtfulness as people talk about these heavy and complex topics, you’re not alone
* If you want to say something, but you’re afraid it may be taken the wrong way, you’re not alone
* If you don’t know how to comfort your colleagues, it’s OK, all of us are trying to figure out how to best support eacch other
* If you fear for the future, your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone
* If you want to share your stories and thoughts with others, that’s appreciated
* But if you don’t want to talk about it at work, or on social media, that’s OK too
* If you’re emotionally exhausted and just want to take a break and maybe re-engage later, that’s OK too
* If you’re a person of color, and you’re tired of explaining to and comforting allies, your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone.
* If you’re a white ally, and you’re feeling guilt, confusion, and helplessness, your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone
* If you made a mistake and said something you didn’t mean, or should have said or did something and you didn’t, it’s OK, you’re not a bad person. Learn and move on.
* If you need to take time to process everything, it’s OK to do that
* If you just want to just focus on your work, that’s OK too
* If you take comfort by being with others, that’s OK
* If you cope best by being by yourself, that’s OK too

The world seems awful right now. ... But we can’t give up hope. Despite the suffering and death we witness each day, our work is making the world better. I see it all the time. I am motivated every day by learning about the amazing programs you make possible, and by getting to know the kind of people you are and the kind you inspire others to be: thoughtful and compassionate and hilarious, full of hope and love and joy and creativity and the belief in a world that is possible. Our community is becoming stronger and more beautiful because of you and all you bring to it, even during difficult days when none of us know the answers. We must keep trying, even when we don’t know all the right words or all the right actions, even when we make mistakes."

That quoted, I will add a few personal suggestions:

Practice Emotional First Aid for yourself and for others.

When working online, think in terms of a mental comfort kit. Share things that you and others will find soothing. This might be pictures of cute baby animals or serene nature scenes, relaxing music, funny stories, recipes for comfort food, etc. If you are too freaked out to do anything productive for a while, remember that just being gentle with yourself and others will help get things back to normal sooner.
Tags: activism, how to, life lessons, networking, reading
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