When “thoughts and prayers” just aren’t enough

thoughts-and-prayers

Sometimes, I just feel like I feel, so much. Like I feel, everything.  I’ll never forget the day the Sandy Hook shooting took place. It’s the only time that I recall myself being down on my knees in my living room, crying and praying in front of my TV. My heart breaking for those young, innocent souls.

Then, a few months later, in April of 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing took place, only a week after I, along with a few college classmates and my husband, left a conference in Boston where I presented my senior thesis. I followed the news coverage every single day, feeling scared, paranoid, angry.

These are all things that make you heartsick.

“THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS” AREN’T ENOUGH

With everything that’s been happening lately, it’s hard to comprehend the fact that we possibly live in the safest time in human history.

The news just travels faster. We follow the tragedies as they occur; whether it be across the world or across the country, and it all sometimes just seems like a lot. It seems like too much. We begin to question “why?”, “how?”

We often just “send our thoughts and prayers” and after a couple of days, we move on with our lives. Maybe we don’t necessarily forget, but we’ve sort of accepted those things as the norm.

DO YOUR PART

Just like a lot of people I’ve been speaking to lately, I’m a bit over the “thoughts and prayers.” Both are really nice, lovely, sometimes even expected, but how much do they help, really? Thoughts and prayers alone, don’t change things.

I do this thing whenever I see a car that’s pulled over, an ambulance rushing, a blind person crossing the street, a police officer on the job, where I always stick my hand out the window of my car and wave my fingers at them. I call this “sending blessings” or “good vibes” and since I began to do that, it’s a habit that my entire family has adopted. Sometimes I do ask myself though, is that more about me, and me making myself feel better, or is it about the other person?

We need to do our part. And it doesn’t always have to be anything complicated. It doesn’t need to be something that has to do with a tragedy. We don’t have to wait for something horrible to happen to hug our loved ones a little tighter, to hold them a little closer.

Helping an older neighbor. Donating to a good cause. Donating food to a local food bank. Sponsoring a child living in a third world country. Volunteering. Donating blood. Signing up to donate bone marrow. Showing appreciation to all the people that keep us safe.

There are so many little things we can do, to change someone’s day. To change someone’s life. To even save someone’s life.

Making a change isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. 1 in 6 people in America faces hunger. 49 millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. You might have neighbors who have kids who go to bed hungry, and you might not even realize it. These are some of the things we don’t always think about.

I know that helping sometimes seems complicated. Not everyone has time to volunteer. Not everyone has time to help. But with places like feedingamerica.org, 1 dollar can provide 10 meals. It’s less than a cup of coffee, yet it can make such a difference.

If you’re looking for other places to donate, consider some of these:

-Las Vegas Victim Fund

-FeedingAmerica.org

-UNICEF USA

-Hispanic Federation

One of my fellow bloggers, Mili is also running a little Skincare Fundraiser where you can win some goodies by donating to help Puerto Rico.


FOCUS ON THE GOOD

To be quite honest, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with this post when I first started to write it. I guess I’ve just been feeling a bit drained and lost and confused lately. But it also made me realize that it’s up to all of us, to make things better for the rest of us. Seeing everything that’s been happening in places like Texas, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Mexico, I can’t help but focus on all the people who come to the rescue. The people who help, people who save lives, often risking their own.

Yes, bad things happen all the time. The sad part is, they will probably continue to happen. But we can’t let that discourage us from living. From having fun. We can’t let that leave us feeling afraid. We have to focus on the good. On all the people who help, aid, save and inspire every day.

I realize that there are a lot of things that are happening right now. Things that make you angry. That’s why you have to focus on the good. On the incredible people who are willing to help strangers, in times of despair.

Sometimes it feels like the world has gone to shit. But there is just so much good out there. There is so much good, but unless you pay attention to it, there’s no way for you to notice it.

 

Also, see:

+ 50 Ways to practice self-care + free printable list
+ Few acts of self-love that will transform your life
+25 Quotes to keep you going when times get tough

 

And the last thing I want to remind you of is very simple.

Be kind.

I’ve dealt with my share of difficult people in my life, but I always look at them, thinking that they weren’t born that way. You can never guess or predict if someone is going through something heavy in their life. Whether it be the girl at the coffee shop who seems distracted and messes up your order, the grumpy man at the gas station, your sad co-worker- try to be a little kinder. Give someone a smile, even if it’s just a stranger passing you on the street.

Every big change begins with a small, single step.

Like I said, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with this post. I don’t usually talk about things like these, but I just kind of felt like I needed to do my part. Just because I don’t always address these things on social media, doesn’t mean that I’m ignorant, or that I don’t feel the pain.  That I don’t feel the loss, or that I don’t feel just as confused as the rest of you. I just know that in a lot of these situations, we often feel helpless and sending “thoughts and prayers” is the only way for us to express our feelings. Our sadness, pain, and anger.

We do need to do better than that though. We need to be kind to each other and remember that we’re all one. If it takes only one person to bring so much tragedy and darkness into our lives, think about how much light and love we can all create, together.

Sending all my love your way.

  • I love this so much. I’ve been feeling the same. I struggle with social media post-traumatic event because I find so many celebrities or people with a platform saying the “thoughts and prayers” thing and to be honest, it turns into an empty gesture for me after a while. I love your suggestions and you’re so right – thoughts and prayers are nice but must be followed up with some kind of action, even if it’s small. As usual, beautiful post.

    Deanna
    http://www.luxandvitae.com

    • Thank you, Deanna! The point that I was trying to make is exactly that, that we should try to do more than just that. Even when it comes to such small things like day-to-day interactions with other people.

  • What a lovely post, but I have to say that praying IS doing SOMEthing. You may not even know it is helping, but it certainly can be. While it’s by far not the only thing we can do, it should count.

    • Thank you, Jackie! I didn’t mean to undermine the power of prayer, as I said in the post, that’s something I myself do, as well. It’s just that I’ve seen way too many people send “prayers” one minute, and treat other human beings like dirt, the next. It’s just not how it should work.

  • What a GREAT POST! But I agree with Jackie, praying IS doing SOMETHING! But there are so many foundations that have been raised to help these people, that is a kind action, but I believe that prayers do help too.

    Nikoleta Lj, xoxo / https://nikoletalj.blogspot.com

    • Thank you so much, Nikoleta! I didn’t say that praying is not doing anything. :) That wasn’t the point of this post. The point is, that I just don’t think it’s enough. We can’t simply change things by prayer, we also have to act on what we pray about. As I told Jackie, I’ve seen way too many people send “prayers” one minute, and treat other human beings like dirt, the next. That’s what hurts me and is part of what inspired me to write this post. xx

  • Love the post and seeing bloggers engage with current events. I think it’s so important to use your platform to amplify the voices of people who have been targeted by such atrocities. For example, I hadn’t thought of the Vegas shooting this morning (I live in London so whilst it has been reported on a lot, i havent seen anything today) and this blog post brought my thoughts right back to those victims.

    I disagree with the comments below, whilst praying is doing something a lot of people pray and don’t act upon it by doing charitable actions and that’s religious hypocrisy. Even just others writing blog posts in addition to praying would be a big help. Thanks for recommending the charities above. FeedingAmerica sounds fantastic, and $1 really is nothing for most people!

    Abigail Alice x

    • Thank you, Abigail. This isn’t something I usually do or write about, but just felt the need to get it off my chest.

      That is the exact point I was trying to make. I didn’t mean to offend anyone or undermine the power or need for prayer. Just like you, I think that there is a lot of religious hypocrisy out there though, and I’ve seen it first hand, I see it every single day and that always leaves me feeling frustrated. Feeding America are great and reading the statistics does open your eyes to how a small change can do so much to help someone in need. Thank you so much for stopping by! xx

  • I really love this post. We all need to be kinder to one another; not just in times of adversity but in general. The websites you’ve mentioned above make a tangiable difference to people’s lives. In particular in the wake of Las Vegas I would urge people to donate blood – so essential.

  • Thoughts and prayers are a first step, but leaving it at this feels like not enough for me as well. Donating (to acclaimed organizations) and of course personal acts of kindness are one step further.
    But you need to distance yourself from events like this in order to keep on living. At least that is how I feel. I want to be outside, enjoy life with my kids and not constantly dwell on tragedies. Not because they don´t matter, but because I don´t want them to take over my life.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • I feel the same way, Anne. I also agree with what you say about distancing yourself from these events sometimes. I haven’t watched the news since December of 2012 and I hate it when someone thinks it’s ignorant. It’s just usually one negative thing after another and it literally sucks the energy out of you. I refuse to be glued to my TV when these tragedies happen. To me they’re always reminders that our lives are precious and that we should go out and live our lives and enjoy those small miracles in life. Love your attitude. xx

  • Such a lovely post. These incidents always make me take a second to realise how lucky I am and to cherish every second with those I love. Life is so precious and can be taken away so easily.
    The stories about people helping others during the Las Vegas shooting are amazing. What I don’t understand is the motive for doing something so terrible. It’s disgusting.

    Hayley | hayleyxmartin

    • Thank you, Hayley. As horrible and heartbreaking as these things that happen are, they are reminders of how precious our lives are and how insignificant some of the things we complain about are.

  • Totally agree on your point about not just waiting for a tragedy to happen to jump into action. But I don’t think sending thoughts and prayers is a bad thing, if I say such an expression it’s very much from the heart. For me, if I’m not financially in a position to give as much as I’d like, thoughts and prayers are all I can offer. I 100% agree with Jackie, they do help for sure, it’s great to know someone is thinking about you. They certainly won’t solve every problem but it’s a start and sometimes it’s all we have. One thing I do hate, is celebs posting a short “thoughtful” message and then continuing earning millions while so many suffer! It’s definitely so difficult to feel safe in this world, so dwelling on the positive rather than the negative is a lovely point too – great post! xxx

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

    • Thank you, Anika! I think some people perhaps misunderstood this post, a little. :) As I said, prayer does help, it helps us heal and it’s what often gets us through those tough times, but what I can’t understand is when people send their “prayers” and then continue to treat other people poorly. I’ve seen this happen way too many times. That was the point that I was trying to make, that is the message I’m trying to send. Sort of a “practice what you preach” kind of a thing. I never said that sending “thoughts and prayers” is a bad thing, it’s just not always enough. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for your comment!! xx

      • Yes to that! Totally agree with practising what you preach! Definitely bothers me when people send their thoughts and then go about their daily lives as if nothing happened because it doesn’t affect thing directly! I see that a lot with the charity I work at, sadly! Still loved this post though, really enjoyed it! xx

  • Rachel Vaughan

    Wow, You said everything I have always thought but could never express as eloquently as you did. When you write, “We don’t have to wait for something horrible to happen to hug our loved ones a little tighter, to hold them a little closer,” my heart melted. There is so much hate and hurt in the world. We need to spread kindness in every way possible. You never know the impact a small act of kindness can have on someone’s day and possibly someone’s life

    Rachel | thedaisylifeblog.com

    • Thank you, Rachel! We definitely shouldn’t have to wait for something bad to happen to appreciate what we have!

  • Such a lovely, kind, post! I love the point you made about us living in the safest time, just news spreading faster!
    Cloe X http://clxelouise.blogspot.com

  • Neoma

    What a beautiful post! I appreciate your observation about how instantaneously news travels. More importantly, your core message, that thoughts and prayers aren’t as useful as being kind, really hit home. <3