There has been a sad trend on social media over the past 48 hours, and I feel I have to speak out, so that you don’t fall foul of it. Many people are grieving, shocked and saddened by the referendum result, especially now that they are seeing the true consequences of the UK’s choice. And they are expressing it – usually with dignity – on social media.
But they are being slapped around the face with a virtual wet kipper by those who should know better, being told that they ‘have to be positive’ and ‘look to the future’.
This needs to stop.
If you have hung around with me for a while, you’ll know I’m a hugely positive person. I’ve published a best-selling gratitude journal. I teach people how to meditate their way to inner peace, how to tame their inner critic and how set themselves free from feeling like a victim, releasing their hidden blocks, so they can make a bigger difference in the world. I’ve volunteered as co-founder of the EU VAT Action Campaign for the past 18 months and helped to change the way the UK government and EU Commission work with micro businesses. I’m kinda the queen of taking inspired action.
So the last thing I would ever do is to encourage people to wallow and whinge.
But when something as major as the EU referendum result happens, telling people to stop feeling sad – in the first few days – is not helpful. In fact, it can be damaging.
We need to show compassion to those who are in shock and grieving.
This isn’t a ‘put on a smile and let’s muck in and fix this’ kind of event. This has been an identity level shift. Who am I? Who is my country, in the light of this vote? Do I belong here? How could this happen? How can we rebuild our nation after the campaign so badly divided it?
It will be a major adjustment for millions of people.
And if we truly want to practice compassion and acceptance, it needs to extend not just to the referendum result, but to everyone – especially those who are struggling with the outcome.
Instead, they are being judged – publicly – by those they trust and respect, telling them they are ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ to feel emotional and instructing them to move forwards towards solutions that they are not yet ready to even begin to imagine.
It’s ok to feel that the result is not ok.
And moving towards the future is a process that is allowed to take time.
If someone is shocked and grieving and you tell them to ‘think positively’, then they risk a ‘spiritual bypass’, which is the psychological term used to describe when people use ‘spiritiuality’ as an excuse to avoid having to face and deal with the present moment’s reality, effectively pretending that everything is ok.
This isn’t a woo-woo thing: even psychologists recognise that it’s damaging. It creates a massive internal conflict, as you try to deny your own feelings. It teaches your unconscious mind that your opinions and feelings aren’t valid. It reinforces the negative self-talk from your inner critic, as you beat yourself up, simply for being human. It causes you to shut down and suppress emotions, which biologists are now proving shuts down your body’s cell receptors, leading to dis-ease.
Frankly, I’m astonished at some of the spiritual bullying I have seen in the past few days.
Moving from shock to taking inspired action is a process. And we need to allow it to run its course, at the speed that only that person can decide. The timing is not up to us, on the outside; it’s up to each individual person.
And maybe we need to look inside, to understand why so many of us are so uncomfortable with others expressing their pain over the referendum result that we’re trying to shame them (that’s what it is – it’s public shaming) or bully them into suddenly feeling positive and hopeful.
It’s time to stop bullying people into being dishonest about how they feel, trying to force them to be positive, before they are ready.
In order to heal from a shock event – especially one at an identity level, like this one – a person needs to handle the immediate emotions. Denying the emotions doesn’t help – we know that, deep down. We then move to acceptance. We then need to get to a place of hope – of believing we can still make a difference – and then we can shift into inspired action. It’s not something that most of us are trained to do and it’s easy to get stuck at the ‘handling the emotions’ stage – or to whitewash them and pretend that everything is ok, which is not a healthy response.
But instead of lecturing about raising vibrations and being positive, we need to lead by example, dealing with our own emotions and then helping others to deal with theirs, rather than criticising them for expressing their Heart Pain. The most passionate inspired action will come when a person has been through the confusion and emotions and healed them; not when we try to force them to ‘raise their vibration’.
Those of us who believe we are on a spiritual path need to massively up the ante on our practice of acceptance and compassion – not with the referendum result, but with those who are struggling with it.
What right has any one of us got to tell someone else how to feel about this? What right have we got to comment on pain-filled social media posts, telling someone who is feeling bereft to flip to positive? We know in our hearts that this isn’t right. Those who are struggling need our compassion, our acceptance, and then gentle, loving guidance through the next stage of the journey.
Telling them that it is wrong to feel the emotions they are feeling is cruel. It’s the emotional equivalent pushing a non-swimmer into a raging river and telling them off for drowning.
It isn’t all love and light. Frankly, for many, it feels shit. And, in this moment, that’s ok. It’s the perfect place for them to be, in this moment. Telling them that the result is for the higher good or glibly insisting that everything is perfect, and hinting that they’re somehow spiritually unevolved if they can’t see it, isn’t ok.
What right have I or anyone else to tell you how you should feel – and when you should heal? What right have we got to tell someone to ‘get over it and get on with your life!’ ??? What right have we got to bully you into denying your emotions?
And if anyone has done this to you, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.
It’s time to honour that each of us has a unique journey through this experience, and that none of us has the right to dictate how that ‘should’ be.
I feel so strongly about this that yesterday I led a live online training, to help you to go from fear to hope and then inspired action, reclaiming your power to make a difference, in whatever way works for you. I don’t want you to be stuck in the pain and anger and fear. But I also don’t want to force you to pretend to be positive. Instead, this training guides you, step by step, through how to move through that journey.
It’s here for you now, as my gift. I’m making it freely available – without even having to opt in – because I want to help as many people as possible, so please make the most of it and share it far and wide.
I want you to be able to sleep tonight. And I want you to be able to make the difference you’re here to make in the world. It’s not enough to ‘tell’ you to perk up and look on the bright side. I want to offer you a step by step process to accept, integrate and heal these changes (or any changes in life), so you can step into your Soul-Shoes, empowered, and from a place of love, not fear.
How To Hold Onto Hope When The **** Hits The Fan
I’m going to be sharing the exact tools and shifts I have used in the past few years to cope with majorly painful life events, so you’re getting the real deal with this one. This stuff works.
I want you to have the tools to be able to ride the waves of change and stress in life, so you can sleep at night with peace in your heart and spread hope and love, to counteract the fear that has ruled over past months.
Please share this with anyone who you feel might find it helpful.
With love, Namaste,
Author of Dare To Dream Bigger: The ‘Inside Work’ Handbook For Entrepreneurs And Passionate World-Changers
I’d love to hear from you!
When you’ve watched the video:
Which inspired action are you going to take *** today *** on this? x Clare
Let me know, via the comments!