Monday, June 18, 2018

Fighting Dispiritedness

We’ve begun the initial stages of settling in to our new home. Painting. Arranging furniture. Recycling boxes. While I feel incredibly peaceful in this house, the weight of the world feels heavy lately. I’m disgusted and dispirited by irresponsible and heartbreaking politics, callous impulsivity, and a real lack of empathy and understanding in our culture. Often when I encounter this type of reaction I retreat. I shrink inside myself, tempting to block out the world—to insulate as a form of protection.

However, in time I’ve learned there are better ways for me to rise above moments of deep disappointment with the world we live in.

Eight Ways I Fight Dispiritedness

Initiate Meaningful Conversation
Not everyone agrees with me. Some may think the world is just fine as it is, some may even say it’s improving. Those are the folks I try to initiate conversations with. I don’t go in with a Debbie Downer approach, but I do believe the most successful road toward change is establishing a broad understanding of the path we’re on, this includes the people we’re walking beside. I have learned to have healthy, robust exchanges. We can disagree, that’s fine. But I crave for people to think. What gets me down more than anything is when people blindly back someone or a decision without garnering understanding first.

Get Outside
I know my triggers and when the world presses in with great intensity and I find myself unshakably sad, the outdoors calls. It’s restorative for me. I’m exceedingly grateful we moved to a place with a calming view and nearby outdoor playgrounds for me—the mountains, the beach, etc.

Seek to Understand
My husband often says, “But the world has always been a mess.” True. But as someone living here and now, I’m driven to understand what it is about our culture that’s pervasively destructive. What’s destroying us? I step back and take time to figure out specifically what it is that’s angering me so much, then I try really hard to dissect the situation, viewing it from unique perspectives.

Speak Up
As I feel led, I’ll reach out to those in a position of power, those who could incite change. I’ll become more vocal. I’ll root around for my voice, then use it.

It’s what I do. For over twenty years the best way for me to sort through anything has been to get it down on paper. It’s freeing somehow.

Check in with My Kids
I have a major responsibility and I don’t take it lightly. I’m raising a new generation of thinkers. Of voters. Of doers. Of changers. I dialogue with my kids and share with them, as appropriate, the things that rattle me about this current climate. I’m curious, does it rattle them? Will she be the one to put an end to this or to create radical change?

I Laugh
It’s so basic, but it’s medicinal for me. Truly. It changes how my brain works. My youngest showed me this video not long ago of a little girl who’s renamed ice cream. I crack up every time I watch. I think it’s healing me somehow—laughter and this video. Maybe it’s the innocence of it all.

Hold Strong to Hope
I don’t always feel my faith. I wrestle more than I care to admit. But neither of those confessed truths alter the reality of hope. It exists. It’s steadfast. And trustworthy whether I cling to it or not. We have a God so billowing with love he won’t ever quit on us even as we destroy all he’s given us.

It can get rough out there, people. I strongly encourage you to figure out what will help you combat the dispiritedness. Because you’re necessary here. We need you. Change awaits.

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