As an introverted empath, crowds overwhelm me, because I take on the emotions of those around me. However, my conviction to stand up for human rights required me to join the Los Angeles Women’s March. One protester’s sign summed up my sentiment, things are “So bad even introverts are here!” The collective emotions that lived in the hearts of each one of the protesters were so intense, I took them on as my own, like an emotional laundromat. I needed to process them to make sense of all I was feeling.
I first waded through the negative emotions which, like the marchers themselves, wanted to be heard. After acknowledging them, I was then able to identify the truly positive and beautiful emotions that sizzled in the air around the crowd, bouncing from heart to heart, amplifying, revitalizing. Here’s what I found.
Drawn Together by Fear, Sadness, and Anger
Anxiety, Worry, and Fear were the first emotions to come forward. They were articulated by another rally sign I saw, which said, “I’m too scared to write something funny.” It’s true, we have immense fear. We’ve read history and know what tyrants will do to the populace. American checks and balances were supposed to prevent tyrants from seizing power. What will happen to us now?
Depression, Sadness, and Grief were the second wave of emotions to surface. There’s a communal sense of mourning over the death of America. What a rare and beautiful experiment in people’s rights! But America too has fallen to a dictator, the most common fate of countries.
Jealousy, Resentment, Frustration were also simmering. We work so hard, struggle to get by, we want to take care of our families, have nice things, go on vacation. The harder we work the less we achieve because the richest horde our money. According to Oxfam, eight men (six Americans) hold more wealth than 50% of the world’s inhabitants. There is no fairness, or justice, and the system is rigged.
Anger, Hate, and Disgust boiled below the sadness and fear, pushed down but still emanating from our defensive posture. How can some be deceived by so obvious a con-artist? Why don’t the people who are supposed to represent us fight harder, stop elections from being stolen, stop politicians from propagating lies? Political greed and self-interest are astounding!
Despair, Hopelessness, and Powerlessness lie beneath all these emotions conveying the murky, terrifying feel of a desperate life-or-death fight. Perhaps we use the anger to keep our heads just above water to breathe. Perhaps the rally chants of “We have the Power,” were those of a populace testing out a new notion, one we must prove to ourselves is true.
Moving Forward with Solidarity, Courage, and Love
But there in the presence of hundreds of thousands of marchers, millions worldwide, hopeful feelings and sensations rose above these heavy weights. Foremost was the Excitement and Joy of being involved in the greatest worldwide march in history. It truly inspired Awe and Amazement to feel Unified for humanity with so many other beautiful, determined people!
Hope came out of the sheer numbers of marchers. Every person who marched must continue to actively participate in the resistance. We have the momentum of Solidarity to turn the tide of authoritarianism and revive America, land of the free. We are not alone! The entire world stood with us that day, giving us the Courage to fight.
There was Comfort and Encouragement in the overwhelming groundswell of Support. How many tens or hundreds of millions of people were Inspired as a result of the march, whether participating or watching it unfold? How many people tasted the rising of a new feeling of Empowerment?
Gratitude was an underlying current that ran during the march, showing democracy in action as we exercised our rights. We Gloried in our Freedom together, with creativity and expression, demonstrating what humanity can be, when we unify.
And finally, there was Love. An amazing outpouring of love and Respect that embraced every gender, race, religion, and body shape as equals. I felt assured of my Safety in that peaceful, respectful group. There was an unspoken agreement that we have each other’s backs, and will surge forward together, because we all Desire the opportunity for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.