To heal is to overcome. Not to push behind bad feelings of sadness, darkness, or grief, but to use them -- to feel them, to understand them, and then to move beyond them, carrying their lessons into the future.
The truth is, healing always begins with you. It has to. In this upsetting state of the world, with terrorism and violence striking daily, it's easy to feel upset, hopeless, and trapped. We carry love and compassion for our fellow humans, so even when these events seem distant, we identify with the tragic feelings of the people and families involved in violence and prejudice.
When we take on the sadness of the world, we close ourselves off to recognizing goodness around us. Overcoming and healing doesn't happen overnight, but there are some specific things you can do to bring love and healing to yourself and back to the world. Here are a few tips to help you find positivity, hope, and gratitude to overcome pain.
1. Take time to grieve
You are not expected to just "get over it." Many of us can't get over anything until we emote a bit. The physical release of feelings is a therapeutic way of expelling negative energy from our bodies. During grief, we can understand just which parts of this situation feel so bad, and what needs to be addressed when it is time to heal. While grieving too long can trap yourself in pain, trying to begin your healing process without grieving at all could mean you are never able to fully heal.
Forgiveness of others, and of yourself, is absolutely key to healing. Carrying feelings of anger, righteousness, or hatred will work directly against any positive efforts you try to begin. While it seems impossible to forgive people who are hell-bent on acting out their hatred on fellow human beings, if your feelings or actions toward these people turn angry or violent, then you have become one of them. It's ok if you don't have all the answers right now -- nobody does. But if you are not treating others the way you wish to be treated, you are perpetuating adversity in yourself and in the world.
3. Find good news
Nothing generates positivity like more positivity. When the world feels like a terrifying place, it can seem like everything is negative. But no, there is ALWAYS something positive happening -- it's when our minds are set on negativity that it's impossible to see the good. So make an active effort. Go online and read stories of people doing good deeds for others, look at baby animal pictures, whatever makes you smile -- this will give your heart a reprieve from its heaviness, reinforce an optimistic outlook, and remind your brain how to recognize and react to goodness and positivity.
4. Do something good for someone else
By doing something good for another, you do something good for yourself. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking there is no good in people. Be the solution. Reach out to someone else who is having a hard time -- make them dinner, offer to help with their children, lend a comforting ear. Not only will you realize that you are not alone in your hardships, but by being the positive change in someone else's life, you infuse your own heart, mind, and karma with energies of generosity and support. You can prove that there IS good in this world by BEING the good in this world.
5. Don't stop living
The first thing so many of us do when we are hit hard by life is to stop dead in our tracks. It feels like we can't move on until we feel better, but we can't start to feel better until we move on... Normalcy and routine do wonders for healing. Don't let the darkness of hatred create fears in you that keep you away from living your life. Even if it just feels like you're going through the motions, keeping your head, heart, and muscles in a state of normalcy will help to minimize negativity and maximize positivity. The impact of fear and hate is only as big as you allow it to be.