Without getting too deep into politics, I’d like to address a current event.
Current events are important.
We need to engage.
We need to be aware.
We need to speak up.
Yet how do we do that when so many of today’s events are brutal… profane… hurtful… even triggering?
There’s a reason why we call them “sensitive” topics. People with average sensitivity levels are bothered by them. Highly sensitive people are sometimes the ones reacting – fighting for the underdog and getting directly involved on the front lines to help make things better.
And sometimes we are stunned into complacency, doing nothing to help, because it’s just too much. For some of us, there are painful things happening in the world that, just by empathizing with the victims, literally crush us on the inside. We feel paralyzed by the hurt and fear.
I want to speak to those times where we choose to react, because we hold the power to bring more chaos… or we can bring peace to the table. Our words are weighty. Our reactions, if left unchecked, can be reactively abusive.
As highly sensitive people, if we know no other way than reactive abuse… you might find us hiding in our closets, hands over our ears, trying to drown out all the dialogue.
We figure if we don’t speak, we won’t hurt anyone back.
This doesn’t mean we don’t care. Quite the contrary. We care fiercely.
We just don’t always know how to care in a peaceful way that is beneficial to others.
Perhaps your sensitive heart is breaking for the minority groups in Charlottesville who had to hear such verbal vulgarity toward them, and for the six-year-old girl who was afraid of the white people walking by her house.
Maybe, due to all the criticism of President Trump’s response, your empathy for him went into overdrive and you couldn’t help but defend his response to the horrific happenings in Charlottesville.
Maybe you couldn’t even watch or read the news stories due to the overstimulating turmoil it would cause in your own mind.
We all have our own moral filters for all of this, and I’d encourage you to use your moral filter during times of turmoil because it helps bring our thoughts into check and we have a better chance of taking action.
In a healthy way.
One of the traps we can fall into regarding world events is blocking it out so we don’t have to feel. This may help you, but it does not benefit your neighbors of the world at all.
Now, if you are a mighty sensitive going through a major crisis in your own life – it may benefit you and the world to reserve your mental energy for only specific causes or issues that you feel strongly about, so stress and adrenal fatigue don’t win you over. Do take care of you! What are those key issues for you? Commit to speaking up for the oppressed and defending the cause in that specific area.
But give yourself a pass to not be involved, when necessary, for your own health or sanity. If you’re a Christian, pray for wisdom about this and know that you are free to rest your mind from the cares of the world when in personal crisis. There will be other seasons when you can participate wholeheartedly.
If you’re not in personal crisis and you’re blocking out world events just because it hurts your heart, that’s another story. Friend, it’s a cruel world. But it’s a world that desperately needs people who care deeply! There is a way to engage and let that hurt bring peace instead of more heartache.
Many current events carry controversial issues, so we can either jump in and fight nasty and come out more heartbroken than we started… OR we can enter into conversation with the intent to understand and be understood.
Always aim for peace.
We can allow our sensitivity to give us and others strength by entering into the dialogue with the right mindset. Here are some helpful tips:
- If you are a Christian, pray for humility.
- If you are a Christian, realize that “peacemaking” does not mean faking unity. Peacemaking can sometimes be divisive, unfortunately. Be at peace with that, because although this world has many troubles, you know your Savior has overcome the world.
- Write down what you want to say before you speak or post it online. Read it out loud. If there’s any hostility in your tone toward your disagreeing friend, tweak that before expressing it.
- Check your heart. You know you have strong empathy for one side or the other. How do you feel about the person you’ll be conversing with? It’s okay to be angry about issues, but we can simultaneously respect those with whom we disagree.
- Be okay with disagreement after you have clearly stated your piece. You will likely be misunderstood, but if you have gone in with the intention of mutual understanding, you have accomplished much.
- Be prepared to learn something from an unlikely source.
- Be prepared to apologize, if necessary.
- Be prepared to maintain your boundaries and disengage with dignity, if necessary.
I have some strong feelings about the protests in Charlottesville and the President’s reaction to it.
Maybe you do, too.
Let’s remember that our voices matter and we can be part of the solution, if even in a small way.