Why is it so difficult to genuinely care about our colleagues?
After the events of last week, the Insurrection at Capitol Hill, I was surprised by how many people reacted by saying don’t ask me how I feel about it. Conflict is hard, but it is also an opportunity for growth- if we allow it to be. That means being honest about what this moment was for all of us and not hiding behind the rhetoric.
I know that conversations can sometimes make us feel like there’s no point, we’ve had the same conversations over and over again. Screaming at the top of our lungs saying Racism is a real thing in the US, not a figment of our imagination.
I don’t think anyone can look at those rioters and say there wasn’t anger there, blame and hate. In whatever they got swept into the mob mentality, it was too late for many of them to know how to say no, and they should be met with consequences.
But for the rest of us, there’s another choice entirely.
Xenophobia aside, we have gotten to a place in the US where we can not genuinely care for each other. We cannot genuinely and authentically learn from each other. We cannot share hopes and visions for a better tomorrow.
That’s the lie we have been told.
There is no greatest shared experience than our humanity. We all hurt, we all want consoling and we want others to care about what we care about- it’s human nature.
Bringing Humanity Back into our Work
I don’t know when it was decided that we were all meant to be stone-faced cold-hearted cogs in the machine, unfeeling during our 9-5s even through adversity.
I admit, whenever I felt emotional at work- I hid out in the bathroom until the moment passed. But why? Why is it inappropriate to care about our fellow human beings that we work with? Especially when we spend more time with them than our own families? To me, it doesn’t make sense.
Professionalism, shouldn’t mean we can’t have intentional conversations about the state of the world. We need to because the world affects us all. If you need a mediator, find one.
But understand this, no matter the political affiliations, everyone was affected by what happened at the Capitol. We all experienced a collective trauma and if you watch the news at all- it may be on continuous loop.
If you need guidance in having Intentional Conversations for Change check this out!
3 Signs That You May Need to Ask for Help
This is hard, because we have all been taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness- it’s not. It’s a sign of personal awareness, knowing our limitations.
If you feel anxious, can’t concentrate and find it hard to stay on task- it may be time to ask for help.
Trauma, and we cannot say this moment in history is not a collective acute trauma and until we feel safe, it will continue to harm those most vulnerable.
- Feelings of being unsafe in your bodies or relationships
If you’re feeling the way I am, it can be difficult to understand the state of the world right now. Feeling as if you are not safe from your anxious thoughts, relationships with those around you are affected and you may be wary of those around you. Do what you need to keep your energy and yourself safe, whatever that means for you.
We need to remember and mourn for what was lost
The process of grieving looks a little different for everyone. Some of us ignore it and push on, some of us focus on work and never look back, some of us find ourselves incapable of moving forward. What if there was an alternative?
We need to acknowledge what was lost: From the lives lost. A sense of safety in democracy. The naïveté that some had in assuming it couldn’t get worse, and therefore enabling the behaviors that led to this moment.
It’s ok to mourn for the loss of what we thought our world was.
Reconnecting and Integrating with a New Sense of Self
Who we were as a nation on January 5, 2021 is not the same as who are post-January 6, 2021. In the same way, we cannot go back to pre-Covid times and we shouldn’t want to. So many of us shy away from using conflict as an opportunity for growth, in ways that do not resolve anything but rather pushes down trauma so that it bubbles in destructive ways later.
Every time some thing happens that is traumatic and a source of pain or conflict, we have the habit of ignoring the conflict and finding immediate solutions to make the pain go away. While it may feel good in the moment, the pain has not been resolved- the hurt still lies there just below the surface.
Instead of ignoring the signs of trauma, reconnect and integrate with who you might be now. Are you a person that still supports the divisive rhetoric that could incite a mob to break into the Capitol Building? Are you a person that still refuses to acknowledge the deep divide between how people of color are treated by law enforcement is different, especially at scale? Are you a person that still believes the simplified versions of catchy lies that have no scientific backing or proof to stand on?
I know that I am a different version of myself in 2021 and I have not been able to focus as much as I was planning to thus far. I have not been to walk away from the ongoings on the news but the sake of my sanity, I need to.
Learnings from the Phases of Trauma Recovery from Trauma Recovery.
Suggestions to Try and Heal
These are things I am personally doing, in trying to heal from reliving the trauma of Capitol Hill.
Do not let the News be the first thing you listen to in the morning
Instead, I start my day with meditation and prayer. I am really loving the Insight Timer app. It has tons of teachers and guided meditations for all your needs.
Allow Movement to Get You Out of Your Head
I’m a big fan of movement to help you do something that’s not just cerebral. I spend the majority of my day thinking, I’m sure we all do, on what to write about, what to make for dinner, which marketing tool is better etc. Movement helps us to change our train of thought. In the same way, that we can lose our focus when the phone rings- we can use our brain’s ‘stop function‘ to distract ourselves for a bit.
That’s why I often play loud dance music and dance with my daughter or Zumba for the hell of it!
Do Something Fun
If Zumba isn’t your jam, try something you do find enjoyable. Spend time reading, creating art, doodling. Something that uses the creative parts of our brains. One of my favorite is drawing with my daughter and making cards for my 91-year old grandmother. If you can learn to get silly and step away from the hurt, it can help you on your journey of healing. But know that it’s temporary, but that’s ok. That’s what makes Joy special.
As we in Montreal, go into another lockdown, I’m practicing these not only to keep my monsters at bay but also because I’m worried. Not only for myself and what it means to be a US Citizen these days, but also for my daughter and what kind of world we are creating for her.
It may be too late for some, but I’m hoping reason will triumph in the end.
Yours in kind,
Stay connected! Join our #empathychallenge2021 starting soon!