Lessons of 2020: On Grief, Loss of Trust, Effective Activism
Along with an insane health crisis through the global pandemic, rising forms of social injustice, and the increasing oppression of the marginalized, many people I know (including me) on an individualized level have had their hearts torn apart through major life changes and transitions this year. Specifically, this is stemmed from the GRIEF of ended relationships or a LOSS OF TRUST from connections that were once solid. There is also great conflict on what effective ACTIVISM means.
If any of this feels like something you have also dealt with or wonder about, here is my message for you. This is everything I have learned from 2020.
How crazy it is that the person who gave you the best memories in life can now be a distant memory.
On the surface, it seems like these kinds of connections always lead to disconnection, from happiness to heartbreak.
But on the deeper end, you might see that this isn’t so.
Although someone you shared a meaningful connection with no longer creates current experiences with you, does not mean they are no longer there.
In this moment of now, recognize that the wrong people you met came to teach you the right lessons.
In the recipe for your happiness, these people were simply not the spice you required for the specific ingredients to fulfill your nourishing meal. In your blank canvas of possible opportunities, they were simply not the colored pencils in your box that had the pertinent shade or sharpness for the piece of art that is your joy.
Every person you meet is an integral part of life to make you the person who you are today. Feeling like it is your fault with guilt or placing blame on yourself that they left—or that you could have done something to keep them—comes from a place of force and not realizing your inherent worth. And sometimes, there is not even an explanation for why they left. You cannot lose what you give, but only what you try to keep. Surrender to this force, this form of control, to cultivate inner solace. And allow yourself to feel whatever unpleasant emotions arise, fully.
In this delicate process of feeling, do not let weakness overcome you through fixation. The fickleness of emotions makes them tricky to deal with, but recognizing how wonderfully irreplaceable and priceless your value is in this world will lead you into fruition of your accomplishments, hopes, and dreams. No one can change the unique worth within you.
Surpassing grief or the loss of trust in all forms is difficult. The piling up of these inevitable disconnections that make you feel unworthy or unlovable seem like overwhelming, unstoppable periods of everything falling apart. It feels like utter impending doom. So then, you fall apart. And in those moments, it’s okay to feel like things are spiraling down and down and down… until rock bottom hits.
Though it is difficult to realize in the middle of these depressive and miserable moments, the unfolding of time can tell you that these places of rock bottom actually helps us reach and cultivate resilience. For the direction of up, cannot exist without the direction of down.
Everything feels heavy, but believe that the lightness will return — for it is in the most unexpected moments of surrendering to impossible control, that life helps you steer your wheel back on track to your intended road. It is when you realize that things fall apart, to eventually fall back into place. Then, you fall apart, to fall back into place: to return to YOUR worth again.
If you do not believe this, then think about how you have overcome every challenge, difficulty, and struggle up until today.
Life is all about choices and where you place your attention on.
It is when you realize that the past has NOTHING to do with you: people hurt others unintentionally (or intentionally, unfortunately) because they have inner hurt they have not personally dealt with. On a grander scale, this is the continual collective pain that the entire WORLD shares and keeps. And it is only through compassionate acceptance that this perspective can be understood.
This is why self-love is the best love.
No amount of activism against oppression can ever be enough, until the healing is done on an individual level. Every single kind of disagreement (from minute fights, to heightened arguments, to widespread wars) will never be solved without the primary accountability of past inner pain and trauma. Pain only serves to strengthen us, and history is meant to be understood so that mistakes will not be repeated.
So educate yourself on your history, and embrace it, no matter how difficult and hurtful it is. For there is no universal, unconditional love without initial, unconditional love from the self.
Strong and powerful activism stems from having our hearts come from a place of empowerment, instead of lack. Instead of ruminating on how you deserved better, recognize how FAR you have come. Choose to peacefully let go out of outcomes instead of rigidly fixating on desired results. This is the power of healthy depersonalization and detachment, which will clear the mind for better activism.
By doing the inner work first, the outer work of spreading awareness to combat external oppression can then serve its purpose in a more efficient and effective manner. Micro-changes spur positive, worldly change. The world can then transition from feeling heavy, back to light.
Now, connect back to yourself; connect back by identifying what you need help with. Normalize asking for help, since help will always be given by those who unconditionally love you. For it is unconditional love that makes the world go round and unites all communities together, and connecting back to your roots will help you connect with others better. This is your lens to see the world clearly and powerfully.
Every oppression stems from a lack of compassion. Now, have compassion for yourself: every loss is a lesson, if you allow it to be.
You were never not enough. You were, are, and always will be always enough. By reframing your perspective from inadequacy to confidence, you can grow from goodbyes. Although they are no longer physically and emotionally with you, you can still honor them by continuing their legacy with the lessons they gave you.
Here lies the power to overcome grief: the present illustrates that the right people will always show up and lead you in the right pathway. People who are truly meant to be in your life are undoubtedly the amazing colored pencils to create your beauty on your blank canvas, and the flavorful spices in your healthful meal to nourish your soul.
Each and every one of them adds various textures and zests to life that amplify the excitement and joy in the mystery that the future holds.
True friends, family, and those who stick around ultimately act as your guides to level up. They make loving feel openly flowing, freeing, and easy. Cherish them. And never settle for less.
Never settle for the past, since it is only the present moment that you have control over now. Forgive yourself for what you did not know before.
Regardless of any identity,
your true strength derives from your pure state of awareness.
This is the mindset for the future:
stay true to who you are by sticking to what serves you in this moment.
Let’s be better activists, friends, advocates, altruists. By connecting back to our roots,
we can universally bloom from where we were planted.
Heal thyself to heal the world. 2021, here we come. ~