How Does Hate Affect Self-Care?
Last week I wrote a post on Facebook explaining why I had dropped out of my usual posting on social media. It was necessary. It was being true to me and my feelings, something self-care encourages.
It was a difficult week of wanting to scream at the injustices in life, face up to their continued existence and understand the duty I have, to stand up & speak up because hate kills.
When we ignore what is happening in our world, we are adding fuel to the flames. We are either saying it doesn’t matter/bother me or it’s not that bad or it’s too ‘delicate’ a topic or, even, being self-centred enough to carry on in our own little bubbles oblivious.
Whatever the reason we have for not paying attention, we are doing ourselves and others an injustice. And injustice is bad for our mental & emotional health, thus our ability to self-care is affected. When someone is told or feels they do not matter, they are less than and are treated as such, it cuts like a knife and over time puts their body into stress through the collection of microaggressions as well as overtly racist behaviours and remarks (much of the rage you are witnessing is a collective pain over generations).
I want to reshare that post now, with some additions, because so much has been posted since that has raised people’s awareness and willingness to engage and this must be maintained for real change to occur,
Originally posted on 03/06/20: “I dropped out of posting on social media since Monday, dealing with the latest murder at the hands of police in the USA (let’s call it what it is – murder).
As I reread the story & engaged in several conversations about it, I felt the anger rising inside and I needed to step back, acknowledge & sit with my thoughts & feelings before finding a way to turn them into something productive.
So here we are on Wednesday and whilst feeling more assertive I must say our world is in a state. There is a pandemic to cope with across the globe affecting so many people and yet other worldly human made viruses continue to rage; racism, hatred, violence, inequality, injustice to name but a few.
Even as some of the perpetrators hide behind ‘authority’ uniforms & other people, their crimes are more visible than before thanks to technology. Their crimes are seen, not just heard about, even if they are hard to watch. I, for one, have struggled to watch the video of the latest victim, #GeorgeFloyd, one black man in a long list of victims, male and female. And whilst this happened in the US, it happens here in the UK too, lest we forget.
And although these ‘seeing is believing’ videos provide everyone a front row seat to what is really going on, it’s not enough to pull the cover off, of these atrocities, there is a practical part to be played.
Initially, openly expressing our thoughts & concerns, our pain and demanding change help. As a black woman who knows the power & potency of loving & being loved, of kindness, respect & gratitude (thank you mum & dad), I am enraged by the lack of humanity in our world and heartbroken in equal measure. It hurts… deeply. I see George Floyd and think, what if that were my son, my brother, my nephew, my uncle, someone in my sphere – it could be…
And whilst we may not know exactly what we can do, what that change looks like or requires, by deepening our understanding of the systems in place that serve to devalue people’s lives, human life, is a start. We need to find ways to break down the systems & processes of power & privilege created to oppress those excluded from their ‘you’re one of us’ checklist.
During my online research over the last couple of days I came across this site, Charity So White. Beyond their definition of racism (which is very clear & concise) there are some useful links and insights weaved throughout the website; ways to contribute and support their work (specifically targeting the charity sector but ideas can be generated beyond that).
You can also check out Runnymede Trust, who have been working on a Reframing Race programme since Oct 2018 and who have proved incredibly helpful with my enquiries. I am proactively looking at ways to do my part because every single one of us has a part to play if we truly wish to see things change. Being upset but not doing anything (even if the doing is purely actively listening to the conversations & stories) isn’t going to change anything.
Start getting right with history and listen to Akala’s excellent lesson: Informative and enlightening. And there are no shortages of stories out there, real life stories of what people have been tolerating, experiencing right up to this day.”
We have failed to grasp that when any part of society is rooted in deep pain that surfaces with force, that pain spreads, it is felt by the collective. And pain affects our wellbeing but the release of it is necessary.
And then begins the real journey ahead, a real tidal change that meshes self-care (because healing is vital) with an openness to listen, to be heard, to learn and to act with purpose. Because in the end, it will take these things and all the faith, hope & love we can generate to reveal the life we all deserve.