Last week I wrote down a list of six practices I called “guidelines for burning times.”
When I crafted them, I was thinking about my highly sensitive (HSP) clients. How overwhelming it is to have waves of intense world events crashing into their nervous systems. How exhausting it is to want to run away from feeling so many peoples’ distress and at the same time, want to take care of everyone who is hurting.
I wrote them as suggested supports for people during exceptionally challenging times but these are practices I use every day as a self-employed woman who is also a highly sensitive introvert.
There are moments when that combination of factors makes every day a “burning time.” Those days when I’m standing in front of multiple rooms full of people, networking, speaking, being filmed or recorded. Those days when I willingly step exponentially out of my comfort zone I need to call in the additional support of these practices.
I originally called them “guidelines for burning times.” Now I think of them as “guidelines for a kinder life.” May they bring you some kindness, too.
- Don’t look away.
That doesn’t mean stay connected to news or social media 24/7. No, it means let yourself be fully aware and awake to the events rolling across the world. Witnessing – this is the core of compassion.
- Being emotionally uncomfortable won’t kill you.
It just feels that way sometimes. Like any state of being it will pass. Honor your discomfort. You’re being changed by what you are witnessing. That’s one reason we keep dipping ourselves in the salty experience that is a human life.
- You can’t fix it alone.
That’s OK. Be kind. Stop walking around wearing the suffering of eight billion people – or even eight – as if it’s your sole responsibility. Breathe.
- Make every action a thoughtful one.
Help each choice perpetuate kindness. Marinate every word in compassionate truth – especially what you share on social media.
- You count.
Whatever thoughtful action you are able to take will contribute to making a difference. The key word here is “able” not “comfortable.” Should you stay in your comfort zone? See #2. Should you throw yourself at every wall? See #3. How to find a balance? That’s what #6 is for.
- Keep living.
Day-to-day, love the people you love and do it out loud – with exuberant hugs, lots of exuberant hugs. Find one moment of beauty each day. Don’t look away. Appreciate it. If you stop living, your resilience will falter and so will your thoughtful actions and compassionate witnessing. Then where will we be?