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Symphony of Chaos & Empathy

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Empathy Paralysis & Trauma at Work
Empathy Paralysis & Trauma at Work

Although this is not a political piece, I will be walking a tightrope throughout this article as I have seen many colleagues, friends, and family succumb to empathy paralysis... However, as someone who preaches about sustainable leadership, it is my duty to speak up.

Furthermore, some have begun losing sight of duties to their jobs, and even their own loved ones at home due to the overwhelming grief since the dawn of the ongoing pursuit of the worst side of humanity that we have ever seen in history.

As such, I want this piece to be a reminder that we must go on living, breathing, and functioning... But more so, how to do that in light of these tragic reminders that humanity can be as dark as it can be amazing and beautiful.

For those who are seeking support in regards to post-trauma recovery, please feel free to visit our past Leaders Talk episode with Marie O'Halloran where we discussed "Leading Others for Post-Trauma Growth." And in that episode we discussed what forms trauma can come in:

  • Physical Trauma: Injuries, accidents, or illnesses causing significant physical harm can lead to trauma, especially if they result in long-term consequences or disabilities.

  • Emotional or Psychological Trauma: Experiencing abuse, neglect, or witnessing distressing events can have profound psychological effects. Emotional trauma can also result from the loss of a loved one, betrayal, or intense fear.

  • Sexual Trauma: Experiencing sexual assault, abuse, or harassment can leave deep emotional scars and contribute to lifelong trauma.

  • Childhood Trauma: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as neglect, abuse, or household dysfunction can have lasting impacts on mental and emotional well-being.

  • Combat or War-Related Trauma: Veterans may experience trauma from their time in combat, leading to conditions like PTSD.

  • Natural Disasters: Surviving earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters can be traumatizing, often resulting in long-term emotional distress.

  • Medical Trauma: Serious medical conditions, surgeries, or prolonged hospitalization can contribute to trauma, especially if the experience is life-threatening or involves chronic pain.

  • Loss or Grief: The death of a loved one, whether sudden or anticipated, can be a source of profound and lasting grief.

  • Cultural or Systemic Trauma: Experiencing discrimination, oppression, or systemic injustices can lead to trauma, particularly when endured over an extended period.

  • Witnessing Violence: Being a witness to violence, whether in the community or within the family, can result in trauma.

With that being said, it's important that our organizational leaders keep this in mind when making demands of our employees in this exacerbated conflict.

It is important that they remember that we are all human regardless of gender, race, religion, political views, and more... In the end, we all have the same emotions and fears in particular.

I have heard of friends in the USA, and even in the East losing their jobs because they took a strong stand on their views regarding the humanitarian crisis, and mass killings.

No one should be fired from their job for vocalizing their opinion when it comes to saving lives and saving the lives of thousands of children in particular.

With the above being said, it is important to note, that "life must go on."

No, I do not mean to forget, and block out what is happening; not by any means.

But we have duties to our children, families, loved ones, and coworkers that no one else can do except for us.

How can we overcome this challenging line between "turning a blind eye," and protecting our own mental, and physical health?

  • Limit exposure: Set specific hours to stay updated on social media, and then truly disconnect.

  • Mindful Consumption: Be selective about the content you engage with. For example: read articles if videos and pictures are too graphic for you - However, also remember to remain unbiased while reading articles; as most articles come with mixed messages from the content creators' own biases.

  • Schedule News Updates: Do not obsessively scroll through content... set time frames to read/ watch news updates. Balance with positive content in order to keep your natural baseline stable.

  • Self-Care: Exercise is the single greatest outlet for stress, but also proper dieting, and meditation are some other outlets you could consider.

  • Engage in Action: We all have felt like we cannot make an impact, and we do not know what to do with all these emotions... Find a healthy outlet and volunteer with groups that are taking donations to support the victims, and their families.

  • Set boundaries in conversations: Do not hesitate to tell someone if you cannot emotionally continue in the conversation, and walk away.

  • Educate yourself: Look into root causes, and learn the history of events. Once you do, you may find that you have a sense of gratitude for knowing that you are on the right side of things. It will not stop the conflict, but it may help you mentally.

  • Know when to take a break...

This conflict is a crucial fork in the road for humanity, and while that remains true, do not forget what is most important and dear to you.

We must keep moving for those closest to us but do not lose sight of humanity's salvation.

I wish everyone peace and prosperity.

And with a heavy heart, we must be brave enough to keep on living and keep educating ourselves, and those who may be lost among the static noise.


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