US politics, racial tensions, Brexit, European immigrant crisis, terrorism, rise of neo-Nazis, mass shootings, natural disasters, with this never-ending cycle of tragedies, it is daunting to find reason for hope.
I, like many of us, find it harder and harder to deal with the fear, guilt, and helplessness that come after a major tragedy. It is normal to feel that way. Anger, depression, and anxiety are completely normal reactions to the news nowadays. When we feel like it can’t get worst, we are proven wrong by yet another mass shooting.
How do I go about my day as if nothing has happened, as if I have no idea that those people, that community is grieving?
When you decide, for your own mental stability, to just avoid news outlets until the storm is over – and it is never over, there is always a new one right around the corner- you are reminded at work, on social media, by a friend, you just can’t escape it.
Logically, we know that pretending it didn’t happen won’t help anyone, nor will feeling bad about it and falling in the endless spiral of depression and anxiety. It is so easy to fall in it. The world is so depressing right now!
But there is a glimmer of hope no matter how slim it is. That glimmer was sparked by people who were bold enough to challenge the status-quo, to call upon their humanity, show love and compassion, fight for the common good.
They are the helpers and we need more of them.
Fred Rogers’ plea to “look for the helpers” after a tragedy still resonates to this day.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”― Fred Rogers
Let’s go further than that. Look for the helpers, be a helper.
If it happens in our community, let’s go out there and help. Help in any way we can. Give blood, find meaningful volunteer opportunities to help. Hold the hand of a grieving mother. Bring flowers or food to a complete stranger.
Even when it is not in our community, we can still make a difference.
Get creative by finding ways to express compassion and kindness where we are able to. Those are all actions we can take that will help us personally and impact the community we live in or/and beyond.
We can make an impact, no matter how insignificant it seems to us.
I used to think that without power, or money for that matter, you are unable to bring change. Not anymore. We each have the ability to contribute to our life, our society, and our world.
We can never know the ripple effect we create from one tiny gesture. What our world is going to look like is up to us. That glimmer of hope can turn into one bright shining light.
So, let’s go out there and reclaim our power in a world that feels so out of control.
Inspired by her own experience of grief, Mariama K. Barry is the founder of M Grief Support, a non-profit that helps families going through grief. She is also a Policy Analyst, Business Analyst, Online Instructor, Content Creator, Author and Freelance Writer.
Image courtesy of Toa Heftiba.