Yes, it hurts. For some, it hurts a lot. Pain is part of being human. It is inevitable; however, unnecessary suffering is not. It does not serve you or others to carry other persons’ pain to the point of emotional overload, physical weakness or even mental debilitation.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling the pain of tragedies. That can be your gift and perhaps your catalyst toward personal wholeness and inspiring others to walk to path of peace and compassion rather than the destructive energies responsible for these kinds of events. But if you’re unable to be your healthiest self due to empathic overload, it’s imperative to take the steps necessary to regain your personal sense of balance. No highly unbalanced person can heal himself or herself—or be there for others in times of need.
If you’re feeling the recent tragedy in Charleston or others that intensely, it’s time to step back, breathe and go inward to determine how much of this sadness is yours, or if it’s what you’ve empathically absorbed from other individuals or a collective.
How do you determine what's yours or not when in this much distress?
Similar to learning how to swim when you’re already drowning, it’s difficult to apply the steps to dealing with emotional tragedies when spiraling downward into or already in despair. Ideally, one prepares for much of life's downward events prior to their occurrence. But of course, it's too late for that.
Recognize that when in the midst of turmoil, the mind will convince you to isolate (Ego says, “I don’t need anyone” or “I don’t want to be seen like this”) or reach out on Facebook (Temporary connection that is better than nothing but still can leave the painful emotional void unfilled), but none of that compares to truly connecting with a trusted friend, family member, partner, or practitioner in person, by phone or Skype.
Recent research indicates that when a second person can hold space for you, the energies are on average 11 times more powerful than being alone! Connection is exponential. Isolation is restrictive.
Being seen in your vulnerability, exposing the scarred, scared, and sacred heart, and being authentic with what’s true for you while another holds the space can be the most powerfully healing thing you can do. When you really break it down, only unconditional love heals, and that is best received from Source via an open conduit.
The best healers know that we’re merely vessels of unconditional love. We know that our openness and ability to be in compassion rather than judgment allows more Source energy to come through cleanly — that is what people need in times of distress. Heck, I think we all need that even when we’re not distressed!
It’s not your job to fix the problems of people you’ve never met that live perhaps thousands of miles away. That’s the mind’s fear-based thinking — a weapon of mass distraction meant to tear you away from feeling your feelings. The mind will steer you into figuring out who or what is to blame. Mass media will also feature hundreds if not thousands of experts, many of them contradicting each other about the causes and solutions of mass shootings and still not one of them mentioning, as Charlie Chaplin said in the Great Dictator, "only the unloved hate."
If your heart tells you to do something about it, then by all means do so, but don’t take on unnecessary responsibility for the healing of others that haven’t asked you to do so. Yes, you can send light. You can send love. You can send cards, food, flowers or even money, but do so from your wholeness, not your void. Don’t try to heal your void by filling that of another. That's ego. That’s selfishness.
When in the chaos, the hearts wisdom is often covered by its pain, or for empaths especially, the pain of another. Can you see how reacting from fear could influence your decisions? Can you see how that would be coming from over-responsibility, guilt or even shame? All of those are constrictive to your energy flow and reduce your intuitive sense and your own healing abilities. On the converse, responding with presence, compassion, and unconditional love is expansive, and increases energy flow leaving you more focused and better able to determine if and what type of assistance to offer.
Fill your own void first with unconditional love. Then listen to your heart. It will always tell you what to do or be.