This blog post is being written in the wake of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2023.
However, this spiritual guidance post applies to any social tragedy.
Social tragedy is often the result of disconnection from one another. When we do not have healthy connection to others, we can de-humanize them. When we are sick with our own suffering, we lash out. When we are beaten down and hopeless, we lash out. The more of our communities that are disconnected, dysfunctional, sick, and suffering, the more social tragedies can happen.
- Mass shootings,
- Gang fights,
- Police abuse,
- Military and militia aggression,
- Domestic violence (while it is often hidden and on a smaller scale, it is a tragedy of our society), and more.
It’s crazy but just this last weekend, a possible mass shooting was averted at a climbing event out where I was hiking.
Yeah. A possible mass shooting at a serene, beautiful state park!
Thankfully, law enforcement arrested the person a few days beforehand, but this is a sign of the insanity and sickness of our society.
But what can you do?
Please watch this video, and further down, I offer some steps you can do in your every day life.
Then please share this post with others.
In love and kindness,
Ways You Can Help Heal Society
One aspect of human nature is that when we feel connected and supported by community, we don’t want to hurt others or ourselves.
It bears emphasis that there’s a lot more hurting of ourselves than others than we realize.
As far as hidden social tragedies go, the lashing inwards is vastly more common than the lashing outwards. And very likely the lashing outwards comes from a lot of lashing inwards.
What is lashing inwards?
It’s things like alcoholism. Negative self-talk. Abusive workout routines. Bulimia. Anorexia. Workaholism, and so much more.
All around us are people lashing inwards.
There is a lot of suffering.
So how can you help others feel more connected, heard, and seen?
How do you let them know that they belong?
Step 1: Return Calls, Emails, and Text Messages
When you reply to messages of others sent to you, you tell them that they matter.
When you don’t reply, you are sending another message.
You are saying that the other person doesn’t matter.
I know this seems small, but that’s where every wildfire starts.
It starts as a single dismissed ember that continues to be unseen and unaddressed until it causing massive destruction–if only for the individual if not for their families or broader society.
Fear, anxiety, excessive busy-ness, and other issues cause people to lose touch. However, it doesn’t matter the excuse, when you don’t reply, you’ve left people in a whole world of uncertainty. They start guessing why you haven’t replied, and they usually guess wrong.
But one message is clear: they weren’t a big enough priority to be responded to.
Obviously, you don’t have to reply to the spammer telling you about the magical spiritual codes to unlock the perfect soulmate. They’ll just sell your personal information to other hackers after you give it to them.
But for all those relationships you are interested in, even if briefly, return the message. On a daily basis, it gives people a little bit of a sense of connection.
And of course, meeting in-person is hugely important. Making time to be with a person directly is critical to our physical and mental health.
And it matters.
Step 2: Show Up When It Is Inconvenient
It seems like people don’t know how to be inconvenienced.
Many people are involved in too many things, many of which they feel like they have to do rather than want to do.
They feel inconvenienced already.
But yet, they often are not busy with things that truly matter. People fill their time and lives with needless entertainment, information, and distractions. A lot of these distractions leave people with less bandwidth for their children, parents, partners, friends, family, and other loved ones.
In general, I see a breakdown of correct priorities. People would rather exhaust their brains watching useless media than make time for tea with a friend or co-worker.
What’s worse is that, sometimes, supporting another truly is inconvenient with your other real obligations.
Do it anyways.
Show up anyway.
Showing up when things are inconvenient is a powerful statement to people that they are important to you.
When it’s never the right time to meet or you can never make a connection, you’re telling people that they don’t matter.
You can see the theme here.
Being told over and over again that you don’t matter by so many people creates depression, anxiety, lashing inwards, and lashing outwards. The more people in our society that experience this, the more upset they become.
Their tone becomes harsher.
Their opinions become more extreme.
Their actions become more outlandish.
Some become violent.
If you look around in America, you can see these things happening right now. Tragedies are already happening here and more is brewing if we don’t change our priorities.
Tragedies like the one that got averted in sunny Central Oregon all of 3 days ago prior to my finishing this post.
You can’t fix it all, but we can all make a greater commitment to show up for one another, especially when it is inconvenient.
Step 3: Offer Yourself True Self Love
How can we be kind to others if we can’t be kind to ourselves?
How do we make space for others when we can’t make space for ourselves?
Learning to truly love yourself is critical. It is part of stopping the epidemic of lashing inwards.
The signs of lashing inwards aren’t hard to spot.
Obesity and the poor eating habits show someone trying to self-medicate, but end up causing harm.
Drugs and alcohol. Nothing more needs to be said.
Media addiction (news, video games, movies, social media, television, podcasts, etc.).
All around us people are lashing inwards.
You may be one of them.
You can turn the tides.
Find one thing to truly support your body, heart, and mind.
Keep it simple.
Here are a few suggestions.
Your body is built to thrive on them.
Here’s a free video to help you with breathing and relaxation.
Your body is built to walk A LOT.
Any way that you better support your physical health, you are loving yourself.
Any way that you remove unhealthy stimulation, substances, and situations, you are loving yourself
There’s a lot you can do to love yourself and open up more space to prioritize others.
We’ve Got to Do this Together
No savior is coming to fix this mess.
We’ve got to do it. We created it, and we’re responsible for it.
And I know that there are some really big issues right now. You don’t have to fix them all.
You can’t fix them all, but you can do your part.
These three steps aren’t all the ways you can help, but they are some. They get at the roots of social disconnection that fuels and ignites social tragedy and violence.
Please do your part to douse one little flame.
I’ll do mine, and we’ll work on working together because we are our way out of tragedy into hope and kindness and love.