The message on my teabag today said “Socialize with compassion, kindness and grace." Wise words on an Election Day filled with so much anger, fear and dread. These beautiful teacups are my favorite gift from my mother and I think of her every time I use them. Since my mother and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum this isn’t a place we easily connect, but when I focus on the beauty and love we share, that is the bridge that crosses the divide and opens the door to compassion, kindness and grace!
When I read these words from James Baldwin, I am struck by the depth of his wisdom and understanding of human suffering. We therapists often say that “hurt people hurt,” because we’ve come to understand that deep anger and rage are just the tip of the iceberg, and when we are wiling to explore what lies beneath the surface of this anger, we discover an ocean of sadness and fear, which is often perceived as too powerful a force to bare.
Expressing anger and hatred somehow feels more empowering and is just " easier “ than exploring the hopelessness and powerlessness that grief, fear and sadness stir within. I believe this is why there is so much anger and hatred in our society today. Most of us don’t want to explore the cruelty, injustice, inequity, racism, poverty and discrimination that exists in our world and we fear being blamed or judged for the role we may have played in creating and sustaining it.
It is simply more comfortable for us to stay angry, indignant and point fingers at others who we can vilify or blame as “ the one” who has caused so much suffering. But I believe our real challenge as individuals, communities and global citizens lies in exploring the pain that lives beneath our moral outrage and righteous indignation.
How do we do this? The way we heal any trauma or hurt is to first create a space that allows us to bear witness to the pain that we or others have experienced. When we create this space, it activates a wellspring of compassion that is innate to all of us, and this inner resource gives us the capacity to to listen to pain and allow it to express itself. Once expressed and acknowledged with compassion this formerly repressed, blocked and stagnant energy begins to naturally dissolve and transform into another form of energy that we can use for our wellbeing and healing.
As a therapist I have witnessed this process over and over again. There is great beauty in it, but admittedly, healing trauma is messy and can be painful. But when we are willing to discover the ways we have been silent, complicit or actively perpetuated indignities upon the human soul of another, our natural capacity for love is restored and we have the ability to respond differently.
Love heals all, even the biggest icebergs of anger and pain, and when we go deeper, we discover that what we thought was an ocean of pain has dissolved into an ocean of love.
If you are struggling with anger and hopelessness in your life, I would love to help you with that. If you want to learn more about online counseling in Florida, please click on my Services Page. If you want to continue reading other posts click on Blog.
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I’ve always loved the word Delight! To me it means “of the light” and with all the darkness and fear in the world today, I wanted to create a place where we can gather together, restore our connection to the light and help one another to Delight The World with love, kindness, gentleness, beauty, compassion and grace. —Amy Rose, LCSW