It’s a difficult thing to manage – feeling helpless. It’s a feeling we try to avoid and often think back on with dread. A lot of us remember it from childhood days when were either not able to or didn’t know how to help the ones we loved around us. This feeling of wanting to do something but not knowing how is so frustrating and infuriating – like a feeling you need to shout but when you try nothing comes out. Or like those dreams when you try to run but you aren’t moving. It is – a nightmare. A negative situation we don’t feel we can do anything to get out of. We just have to watch as things unfold knowing at the same time we could have or should have done something about it.
That’s how many of us feel due to the recent events around the world. A global pandemic, protests and police brutality let alone racism. The pain others are forced to carry due to other human beings is almost unspeakable. You think after over 2000 years of existence humans would evolve as fast as the technology we have created. Instead, it seems we have focused too much on progressing externally and have not spent enough time dealing with our internal growth. I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to books, people, cultures and mindsets as well as opportunities and experiences many people could only dream of that have given me a life of great privilege and comfort. I not only want to help, but I know I must. My ancestors have fought too hard to enable this kind of life for me in order for me to leave them behind. I know I need to help and I know I could, but how? Is donating money the right way? How do I know it will help people that need it the most? Where do I start? How can I influence something that is miles away, is invisible and I have no control over? And yet at the same time, I know I am responsible to do something. This imbalance is hard to manage. And not only that – how can you know when you have helped enough? Is there ever a time when you know you have done all you can?
Generally speaking no. There is never enough we can give to others in need (this includes the planet and animals). But there is a time to step back. You have to recharge so you are in the right mindset to provide aid to others. You cannot let yourself become another burden for them. There’s is a beautiful saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup”. You can give your best when you are at your best. So recharge, make sure you do not exhaust yourself. Give what you can until you can’t and then start again. If you can help others it is your duty to do so. Otherwise, you have to give back everything others have given you – which is impossible. You owe the world your privilege and comfort.
So where to begin. The most vital step is to educate yourself. Learn, learn, learn and keep on learning. Make sure you keep growing and learning of the impact you may have on the world around you. Only by reflecting can we make sure for the pitfalls and mistakes of our history not to repeat itself again and again. The fact that we don’t educate ourselves and learn from the past is the reason why we find ourselves in these continuous, destructive spirals. Be an active part in stopping that spiral by learning what caused them in the first place and how the spiral effects others.
If you can’t go out on the streets to support, support online. Raise awareness to people that might have not had the means to educate themselves. Know that there is never a case where you shouldn’t speak up for what is right. Force the people around you who want to avoid the discomfort of growth to be confronted with it without force or judgement. Both force and judgement is what got us in this problem of racism and police brutality in the first place. You are better than that.
Take an extra step of compassion. A leap of kindness so to say. Not only towards the humans around you but yourself. Understand at times you may have been toxic, or harming others even when you didn’t want to be. I’m sure we all have situations we didn’t speak up when we could. Ask yourself why. Without judgement, only with compassion. Sometimes we knew better but couldn’t do better. That is ok. We are all victims to our own blindness. As long as you keep reflecting and learning, you can make corrections along the way.
Every journey starts with you looking into yourself. That’s one thing I can tell you racists don’t do. Start there. The world is so vast, it’s hard to impact on a massive scale. But if we all do our part, and everyone focuses on bettering themselves and the world around them, with less judgement and more compassion – then the world would be a better place.