Looking for guidance/ understanding of how to manage my emotions

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    I want to understand better how to cope with with witnessing/ observing some awful things. 5 years ago, I became fully vegan after bearing witness to lots of footage of animal violence. And although it’s been 5 years since, I still struggle every day with the weight I feel of knowing of such violence happening on such a scale. Last year, it came to light that I show some symptoms of ptsd from it. I come here to ask a question though about something I heard with how monks cope with seeing these sorts of things. I heard that they are able to observe things happening without emotionally spending on it, so they accept what happened in reality but feel no emotion towards it. I want to understand what this is referring to and what it means? Because I have promised myself I would never grow cold and heartless towards the world, but I heard this emotional technique is different from shutting out the world, and I want to understand how? Maybe it’s something I can apply? The reason why I don’t ever want to grow cold is because I never want to let myself hurt any animals. I’ve seen people who were attached to where their food comes from just grow cold towards the animals and choose to stop caring about avoiding violence. While I do forgive those people, it’s not a path I want to ever go down. I want to gain some emotional control though, so my heart isn’t heavy all the time. But I will bear a heavy heart forever if it means I can live a life that doesn’t hurt anyone else.</p>
    I am not angry at the world for hurting animals, just deeply saddened. But I believe in forgiving all, and choosing to understand and not divide people into “us vs them” because I think we all should try to understand one another. shortly after I had my realizations 5 years ago, I became a pacifist too. I don’t believe in causing any more suffering, and I don’t believe in revenge.


    If anyone can offer me some insight into how to better handle my emotions without growing apathetic, or just any words of advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a beautiful life. ❤️


    • This topic was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by tinybuddha.
    • This topic was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by tinybuddha.

    Dear Emma:

    “I will bear a heavy heart forever if it means I can live a life that doesn’t hurt anyone else”- there magical/incorrect thinking here that causes you to suffer. If you correct this incorrect thinking, you will feel sad about the wrongs in the world, but you will not suffer on and on.

    Here is what I believe to be the correct thinking:

    1. If you bear a heavy heart, it will not help anyone, and you will continue to hurt yourself and anyone who may care for you.

    3. If you bear a light heart, it will not hurt anyone; you can still be true to your values while your heart is light, or lighter.

    I think that some of your pain is due to your belief that you are responsible for the wrongs in the world, and that you have the ability to undo these wrongs.

    Although there are things that you can do and have been doing to correct the wrongs in the world (and should continue to do what you can), overall, there is very little difference that you can make in the world as an individual who is not in a position of great political and financial power. If you accept this reality, you will be sad at times, but way less troubled.

    Am I making sense to you?



    Yes, thank you Anita. I think you’re right, I do feel responsible and it’s hard to accept that I’m powerless in this situation to make any change. I want to pursue rescuing animals though and helping them as much as I can, though. I feel it’s my purpose. It’s difficult not to become deeply sad when I see suffering, which I guess is natural and something I should allow myself to feel, I should give myself permission to feel sad. Any tips though on how to accept the reality and let go of the weight in my heart? I don’t want to turn off my empathy for the animals, but I just wish I didn’t feel so emotionally spent and emotionally heavy from my empathy.

    Thank you so much for just listening to me and responding by the way, it’s greatly appreciated. ❤️


    Dear Emma,

    Although I cannot relate to exactly how you feel, I can certainly understand some of your perspectives as I feel similarly when cruel and violent things happen towards children. My whole life I have wanted to grow up and make a difference to help make the world a better place for children because I have seen some very unfortunate situations and my heart used to hurt because as much as I want to help all of them it is hard to. However, as time passed, I realized although I cannot change the things for all of them I can use my empathy as fuel to start from where I can. I volunteer at children’s hospitals, camps that help children affected by cancer, call centers that are for children dealing with mental health issues, and pursuing my education for a degree that can help me get a job to help children. It is extremely hard as Anita mentioned to make a huge difference in the world unless you are in the position of great political and financial power, but sometimes even small things that can help save even one child or in your case even one animal can and does make a tremendous difference.

    When I get deeply saddened by the cruelty in the world that happens to children instead of turning off my empathy I try to focus on all the good people and the good things out there that do want to help them. There are people like you that also want to help animals so although there are numerous cruel things that happen to animals because of people, there are also wonderful things that help save animals because of people, people like you. Try to remind yourself that and use it to continue doing what you can to help animals. I know our empathy for such things can sometimes feel like a burden but if you practice using it as the motivation you can do even greater things for the good of helping animals.

    I wish you well Emma 🙂


    Hi Emma,

    Well this is why I don’t watch the news 24/7. It’s ironic that because of empathy you become vegan, but that same empathy can be a liability when “the world is too much in you”.

    One vegan can make a huge difference. Just by EXISTING you are normalizing not eating meat. Your friends and family will naturally eat lighter because you are. When you start a family of your own, before you know it, twenty people will have vegan Thanksgivings because that’s just what you do. Sure, some people will still eat meat and consume milk and egg products, but they CAN do it with LESS suffering. Permaculture is a thing. Don’t be surprised if you give blessings over your neighbor’s egg laying chickens and milk producing goat. Lastly, take heart! More and more people turn to plant based diets every year!

    No need to THINK any more over the suffering. Just DO your thing!



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