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Back to Center: 'I encountered a slew of racist hate messages online'

'Should I respond in some way?'

Sarah Perron

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Sarah Perron

Sarah Perron

Sarah Perron

Life Coach and Writer

Offering perspectives for personal realignment and empowerment.

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January 16, 2023

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04:36 AM

Back to Center: 'I encountered a slew of racist hate messages online'

The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in these tyrannical times. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being. Please send your questions to [email protected]. Anonymous and secure. Looking forward to hearing from you!

For all other inquiries, please direct your questions to [email protected]


For quite some time, I have felt a calling to help women who are considering an abortion. I am passionately pro-life, and would love to counsel these women, to help them see the sacred beauty of having a child. 

I'm finally on the threshold of taking the plunge and looking into ways to get involved, but there's something that worries me. If I work with a woman who ultimately chooses to go through with an abortion, I don't know how I'll be able to handle it. I realize that it is a possibility, but that idea feels overwhelmingly heartbreaking to me. I imagine I'd feel like it was my fault, like if I had just said the right words, the outcome would have been different — a life would have been saved. 

Should I really be considering doing this kind of work if I feel crushed even thinking about this scenario? 

Thank you so much for your question. First, I want to acknowledge your beautiful desire to help save the lives of unborn children! These days, women are being targeted with strong cultural messaging that devalues the lives growing within them, and we desperately need people who will stand up and fight for the sanctity of life. 

I hear how your passion and your worries clash when you think of getting involved. And you're right — there could be both amazing victories and heartbreaking defeats in this kind of work. You're wondering if you're up for all the possibilities. 

It seems to me that the first thing to come to terms with about working with these women is that you ultimately have no control over what they decide. This is true both for the women who decide to keep their babies, and those who decide to let them go. The only person who can make that decision is the woman herself. 

Were you to step into a counseling-type role, you need to know and accept that it's not your job to control the outcome. It's simply not in your hands. What is in your hands is the amount of effort and heart you would choose to put into conversations with these women. 

This is actually no different than most things in life. We're only in control of our efforts, not the outcome. This is certainly true of the process of raising children itself. Parents can pour their love, time, and attention into their children, work hard to instill good values in them, give them the best opportunities and experiences but in the end, it's the children who decide who they will be and what they will ultimately make of their lives. 

For parents, watching this process of their children becoming people can be a wild roller coaster of amazing celebrations and crushing heartbreaks but does the possibility of heartbreak and feeling all that pain mean that people should never become parents? 

I would venture to guess that's not what you would tell the women you want to counsel. I imagine that you would tell them about how the ups and downs of parenthood are all worth it.  

I will put the same question to you as you consider stepping into this counseling role: Does the possibility of heartbreak mean that you shouldn't even try? Could the pain you would position yourself to possibly experience be worth it for all the other lives you could help save? 

Just like these women who have a choice to make about their pregnancies, the only one who can answer this question is you. I encourage you to explore your thoughts and feelings about this in whatever way is meaningful for you — writing, drawing, conversations with trusted friends. It might be especially helpful to talk more with people in this line of work, to get a feel for what they experience and how they handle the ups and downs. 

I wish you all the best in your exploration and hope that your passion to help bring new life into the world will find just the right path! 

****

I recently encountered a slew of racist hate messages in a chat group I'm part of online. Unfortunately, they were aimed at my own ethnic group and religion. I'm well aware that there are many people out there who think and talk like this, but somehow I'm always taken aback when I come into contact with them. 

I'm trying to decide whether to respond to these messages in some way. On the one hand, I know there's really no reasoning with people like this who spout such baseless lies. Maybe their messages don't even deserve a response — should I really put my time and energy into this? On the other hand, I do feel the urge to write back, to stand up for myself and my people, regardless of the outcome. 

Do you have any thoughts on how to handle this?

I'm so sorry to hear you've had this experience. It's a deeply troubling thing to witness this kind of hatred and prejudice in other people.

I want to acknowledge the levelheadedness with which you're approaching this situation. Some people would fire back a fuming knee-jerk response, but I see you carefully weighing your options. You're taking a breath before doing anything, and that's usually the best way to begin before diving into a charged situation like this.

Let's take a look at your first question: “Does this deserve my time and energy, especially when I'm not sure it will make a difference?” It's a wise question on your part. With all things in life, we need to be in touch with where we're holding internally, whether we feel we have the emotional resources and energy to get involved in a conversation (especially a difficult one), a project, a relationship. There are times when we feel fired up and ready to engage, or when we have less energy and time but sense we could still healthily push ourselves and get involved it feels worth the stretch. Then there are other times when we can see that stepping into something will only drain us, that we are not in a place to stretch, and that our first priority has to be to protect and nurture ourselves.

How could you feel this out for yourself in this situation? How can you gauge what you are able to handle? You know yourself better than anyone. Forget about the chat group people for a moment. What do you need to do for yourself right now?

The other option you present is also an important one to consider — the value of speaking up against injustice, regardless of the response from others. This is a very powerful idea because it's about total alignment with truth and one's own values, which is higher than what any other person thinks or has to say about it. Speaking up for truth sends out a positive energy into the world that does make a difference, even if looks like our words are falling on deaf ears. 

If you do choose to respond, how could you make it just for you — because you feel it's the right thing to do — and not about how anyone else is going to react? How could you stay aligned within yourself in this way? And what is it that you'd like to express? I encourage you to take some time to identify the core ideas — what's really at the heart of it for you?

Either way, you have an amazing opportunity to get more in touch with the core of who you are. In that way, I guess you can thank those haters — they've really given you a gift! You sound like the kind of person who will take time to make a thoughtful, meaningful decision. Wishing you all the best, and may we all have the strength to make truth-centered choices in our lives! 

**** 

Previous columns:

Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to [email protected].  Anonymous and secure.

 

Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.

You are invited to book a complimentary coaching call with Sarah! Please visit https://calendly.com/sarahperroncoaching/45min to choose a time that's convenient for you. She looks forward to meeting you!

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