Many of you are likely reeling from the multiple crises facing humanity these days. Chances are, your empathy meter is way overloaded and your synapses are imploding from the inner and outer pressure to reconfigure or unleash your mind palace to save this troubled world.
I understand. I am also overloaded and imploding.
So, today, I am sharing YOUR WORDS from various insightful comments you have so generously written on the blog, plus some of my own thoughts on caring for your rainforest-minded self, particularly during highly stressful, even frightening, times.
- Accept that you can not help in every way you would like, even as you actualize your strengths.
“…In a sense, I suppose this is a form of perfectionism: feeling like you’re constantly letting down the people around you, because you don’t excel in every area where you could with the right effort and unlimited time, energy and opportunity. It is not sustainable to live like this, so I make the effort to focus on what I do, rather than what I don’t. On most days, I do research in my field, with a focus addressing an important problem. I regularly help, mentor, orient younger graduate students, undergrads, or even create opportunities for them. I listen to friends and family and make them feel loved, seen, heard, and appreciated. I volunteer with children who need it. And when I look at things, I think I’m doing pretty okay actualizing my strengths. It will always be, however, a bit of a grieving process letting go and accepting I can’t help in every way I would like…”
- Recognize the power of creating community and the impact of local actions. Join organizations that reflect your values. Tune into your knowingness about the interconnectedness of all life.
“… It is constantly reinforced to us that we must do great things. When you have high ability in one or more areas, the pressure is even greater. But I don’t think it’s a healthy mentality. Our strength comes from community, from putting all our efforts together. We are ONE person, with ONE set of strengths. So much of our most lasting achievements are those that directly impact the people around us, locally…”
- Differentiate between healthy striving for achieving your goals and unhealthy self-sacrifice. Give yourself permission to set boundaries when needed and to have limits. Address any childhood trauma that might be impacting you today.
“I’ve spent a large part of my life chasing institutional prestige. Not because it’s something I intrinsically cared about, but because it was expected of me, and because (not unrelatedly) it reproduced a dynamic of toxic conditional acceptance I had with my father. There is nothing sustaining in that, of course, nothing to feed me; when you are only as good as your last perfect mark, the latest scholarship, your current h-index, you must feed it, and it is insatiable…”
“…I think striving for greatness comes from a very genuine, sincere place, from deep caring and social responsibility and love. But this is compounded by social pressure, and this cultural emphasis on extreme self-sacrifice and achievement is making many of us miserable…”
- Give yourself time to grieve over the losses and the suffering you see and experience around the world. Tap into your intuition and build a spiritual practice to access more awareness of your particular journey here. Be open to creative possibilities and the mysteries of the universe. Hold what Krista Tippet calls a “generative narrative.” Wear your emotional support sweater every day. Write/Draw in your journal.
“…Actualizing one’s strength is not always a tangible thing; I’d argue raising our spirituality, our shared values is more important than pragmatic concerns much of the time….”
- Embrace the idea that greater self-awareness and self-compassion, along with generosity, community, and loving kindness, combine to create a soothing, healing salve and an important path forward.
“…My happiest periods of life have been talking, collaborating and playing with (and just witnessing) artists and musicians who know and act on the fact that we are in this together, that our common humanity is what matters and what we have to strive to embrace and protect.”
To my bloggEEs: What tools, techniques, and beliefs sustain you during stressful, fightening times? Have you found a community where you can feel a sense of belonging and safety? I am thinking of all of you and sending so much love. And thank you to the folks who contributed the comments that I quoted above.
Much gratitude to those of you who have purchased my books and for the reviews on Amazon. Keep them coming!