I’ve had conversations with so many people recently when they’re saying, ‘What can I do when things feel so heavy?’
First, we of course have to acknowledge that what’s going on in Ukraine is absolutely devastating. Many of us feel like we’re watching on, helpless.
It feels heavy.
Particularly if you’re a highly sensitive person or highly empathic.
I know it’s definitely shown up for me over the last week.
So let’s first of all just try to meet each other in our human-ness.
No one’s going to get it ‘right’ and please everybody. It’s not possible. So first let’s try and acknowledge that the vast majority of people are probably trying their best.
When there’s big, heavy feelings involved it can be tricky.
It might feel like confusion. A stuckness. Not knowing what to do.
You might feel like you want to lash out (fight mode). You might want to just hide away (freeze mode). You might want to just busy yourself with other things (flight mode)
There are a lot of physiological things that can happen for people when big feelings are present.
You don’t know anyone else’s history, trauma responses and strategies or ways of trying to handle things so please try not to judge other people in times like this.
We all handle big, heavy emotions differently based on our own individual physiology. It may have been safe for you as a child to feel and express big emotions. It may have been incredibly unsafe for you.
There’s no judgement to be made either way. A big majority of people fall into the camp of not being able to express big feelings. So they suppress them. Most of us were taught by society, family, teachers, maybe even friends that emotions are weak. That they are inconvenient. That they are negative things and you shouldn’t have them, let alone express them.
So no wonder so many people are feeling overwhelmed and shut down. But we don’t need to add our judgements onto that too.
You might be feeling deep sadness right now. You might be terrified about what this means for the future.
You might be feeling guilty because you don’t know how to support.
There are a whole host of beautiful messy emotions that might be going on for you right now. And that can feel very heavy and draining.
It’s really not my place to tell you what to do or not to do in this situation, I can’t! I’m figuring it out for myself too. It’s hard to know which way to turn and what is actually the most helpful thing to do. I started with a quick google search in my local area and I found a treasure trove of people who were sending all sorts of helpful things that people need the most right now. Air bnb have waived all their fees for people in Ukraine so that’s a way to get money directly into the hands of families and individuals who are there right now. There’s people shopping on Etsy and searching for businesses based in Ukraine and you can buy products and message them that you don’t expect it to be sent, or simply buy digital products. These are some of the things I’m doing, what you feel called to do may be totally different. Do what’s right for you.
But, even though I can’t tell you the ‘right’ thing to do in terms of how you can support people in Ukraine, I CAN absolutely tell you how I’m supporting myself through these heavy feelings and try to help you make sense of some of the thoughts and feelings. That IS my area of expertise.
I’m doing more of what makes me feel good. The old faithfuls.
For me that looks like nature, movement, Heartmath, using my Sensate more, using my breath.
I’m taking extra time to notice what’s going on for me. Is my breath shallow, am I holding tension in my body?
I’m taking time to read.
My gratitude practice is amped up.
I’m really listening to what my mind and my body needs and not judging that.
I’m allowing the feelings to be there. I’m naming them. I’m finding where I feel them in my body and not trying to suppress them in any way.
I’m taking extra time and effort to reach out to and speak to or see the people I love.
I’m allowing myself to be quiet when I want and need to.
This weird idea that’s out there that you should have it together all the time drives me nuts. The idea that ANYONE has it together all the time. It’s an unachievable ideal. We have to learn to let go of it. It’s not realistic. It doesn’t matter how much you know about the mind, you are first and foremost a human being and we are emotional beings.
The idea that you should just instinctively know exactly what to do in a situation like this…let it go!
Judgement of yourself and others around how they handle this situation…let it go!
Do what YOU feel is right based on YOUR situation. Remember there’s always another way to look at things and you have zero control over how someone decides to see what you do. Zero.
To one person seeing someone selling something and sending all profits to charities supporting Ukraine I’ve seen people say it’s performative and greedy.
I’ve seen others fight back and say the exact same thing is generous and kind.
Not everyone is going to agree. It’s totally unavoidable. There are so many variables.
We can’t control what other people think of us. So please try to have compassion for yourself for not knowing all the answers. For not having it all together all the time.
So if you’re feeling heavy right now, I’m with you. Allow yourself to feel those beautiful feelings. Take it as softly or slowly as you need to. Allow yourself to be a human.
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time and feel more in control.
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