What suicide has taught me

Combatting darkness with compassion and love, coronavirus in America, becoming free, and a powerful story of child abuse

Hi friend,

Hope you are had a beautiful Labor Day weekend! For those of you working tirelessly day after day, hope you were able to take a breather on this holiday.

This Thursday, September 10, is a day that is very close to me. It’s World Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s taken me many years to manage being a deep empath. While I have this “superpower” to pick up on emotional with heightened sensitivity, it also means that I feel... a lot. When I'm extremely happy, I’m on top of the world, and when I'm down, my mind is flooded with extremely dark thoughts.

At two points of my life, I tried to commit suicide. While I am extremely grateful to be here today, this isn’t the case for everyone. Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year.

We live in a culture where teasing and bullying are normalized well into adulthood. From our home to the workplace, we perpetuate damaging behaviors with insensitive remarks believing that they will help ourselves or others around us.

  • Giving harsh feedback to other colleagues (“it’s not personal”)

  • Critiquing someone’s appearance

  • Telling a friend/lover/family member they need to change (and that somehow we know better)

  • Shutting down others for not being “woke” enough

The fact of the matter is:

  1. We never have all the information - we don't know what’s best for everyone

  2. No matter how critical we are to those with less privilege, wealth, or knowledge than us, it will never raise us up

Even well-meaning critiques can burrow deep within hearts. Most of our critical self-talk originated from someone we love.

But it doesn't have to be this way, and we can make a shift.

  • Instead of telling someone to change or stop doing something, focus on things they should continue (or do more of)

  • Instead of “calling out”, point your attention elsewhere and highlight other individuals and organizations doing exemplary work

  • Don’t engage in gossip or put-downs for the sake of “throwing shade” - your time is more valuable than this (you are what you spend your time on)

Sometimes, the feeling of scarcity leads us away from compassionate ways of being. When we can see the world around us has an abundance of what we seek (love, attention, money, status, woke-ness), we begin to relax and ease into empathy and kindness. And when we are able to fill ourselves with the reassurance of enough-ness, we can truly serve and be present with those around us.

For me at least, this is constant work. It’s so easy to let my emotions run its course and take it out on others. Judgment is only a reflection of my own feelings of inadequacy. And if I want to get more feelings of love and compassion - it has to start with me first.

Otherwise, where do we begin?

PS - Always ask someone if they are open to feedback first before giving it to them. When you do, understand that your observations are your own. Avoid telling others what they need to change without first offering to change your approach. (Who knows – you may just have a change of heart by then. 😉 )

PSS - If you want to learn about my suicide story itself, check out my previous YouTube video on depression and suicide.


What the coronavirus reveals

"If the pandemic really is a kind of war, it's the first to be fought on this soil in a century and a half. Invasion and occupation expose a society's fault lines, exaggerating what goes unnoticed or accepted in peacetime, clarifying essential truths, raising the smell of buried rot. The virus should have united Americans against a common threat. With different leadership, it might have. Instead, even as it spread from blue to red areas, attitudes broke down along familiar partisan lines. The virus also should have been a great leveler. You don't have to be in the military or in debt to be a target—you just have to be human. But from the start, its effects have been skewed by the inequality that we've tolerated for so long." We are living in a failed state: The coronavirus didn't break America. It revealed what was already broken.

True crime, false allegation

A 23-year long case, with multiple trials, a podcast, finally comes to a close. The suspect, Curtis Flowers, is finally a free man.

The many faces of abuse

Watched a powerful documentary this weekend. Rarely you find a child abuse documentary that was directed by the child themselves. Rewind follows the story of Sasha Neulinger uncovering dark truths of what happened in his life and his family. (Free for Amazon Prime members)

As always, thanks for reading!

P.S. If you enjoyed this, share or sign up here: mindfulmoments.substack.com

Anything else? You can always hit "reply" to email me directly. 💌

Have a beautiful day!

Metta (loving-kindness),
Steven

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