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Unless you’ve been living under a rock this year—a rock miles and miles beneath the earth’s surface—then you obviously know that 2020 has, so far, been a roaring tsunami of chaos, confusion, anxiety, fear, and what feels like an all-out war every few weeks.
There are new twists and turns each day, a new cause to support, human rights to fight for, and oh yeah, let’s not forget our battle with COVID-19, which has not only been attacking our lungs, hearts, and bodies, but also challenging our minds, breaking us down, and separating even the closest of family members and friends.
But for those of us with sensitive hearts—the fierce yet soft ones, the ones who feel broken every time they read a new story about something soul-crushing—there is another kind of war that we are battling, and unfortunately it is something that we have to reconcile within ourselves every single day: cancel culture, shaming, naming, and blaming.
Cancel culture is the 2020 equivalent of a modern day witch hunt, with cyber soap box social justice warriors lurking in the shadows, salivating as they sharpen their pitchforks, joining forces together in order to pounce on the first person who steps a foot out of line—because strength in numbers, right?
Cancel culture has now become a new way to burn those you don’t particularly like at the stake, peppering the consequences of their perceived ill advised actions or words with taking down their jobs, livelihoods, reputations, and relationships.
And I can’t stand it.
My heart physically hurts when I see this happen over and over again. I’m not taking about pedophiles, racists, rapists, or bigots being exposed. Bringing these evils to light is important as it can save lives and help awaken this world.
I’m talking about the ruthless drudging up of someone’s past from 1, 5, 10, 20, or 30 years ago, to expose them in an attempt to ruin, shame, and make them pay for something they may have said or done previously. Were they misguided and wrong? Yes. But everyone makes mistakes and everyone goes through dark times.
Cancel culture encourages public conflict over interpersonal resolution, mindfulness, lesson learning, growth, and evolution.
We all have moments where we aren’t ourselves, have royally screwed up, or aren’t particularly proud of our behaviour. Some of us are lucky enough to experience these dark nights of the soul privately, while others, unfortunately, deal with it publicly.
For the naturally giving, spiritually open, highly attuned and intuitive folks, cancel culture has been a burst pipe that no matter what tools we use, we cannot seem to stop the flood or shut the water off.
We don’t just feel for someone, we feel with them. When I see someone sitting in shame, the suffering is sometimes palpable.
So is the only safe strategy here to trust no one? To stay quiet and complicit, in hopes that we can escape it and it will just go away? We won’t have to feel anything if we just shut down and ignore it, right?
No. I can’t believe that.
Trust, if you look at every event from a neutral space, is a choice.
And I choose loving boundaries. I choose forgiveness. I choose humanity. I choose compassion.
Because I know that when it has been me walking through the streets naked while being pegged with rotten fruit and paraded around, scoffed at, mocked, shamed, and, let’s face it, cancelled, what saved me was compassion.
I may even get canceled a second go around for writing this. But as an empath and a writer, part of my responsibility is to speak truths that may be unpopular in the moment.
For the empaths living in 2020: Keep choosing love. The world needs us right now.