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Image by Jennifer Chong

This is a tough article to write, but someone needs to write it.

It’s still early 2011, yet we have already seen a large number of disasters and global catastrophes occur. The latest – Japan’s earthquake, tidal wave, and subsequent nuclear meltdown (!) – being one of the worst ones ever.

Just like most other people watching this disaster unfold, I find this incredibly sad, depressing, and frightening. It’s difficult to comprehend the scale of damage, and the number of lives that have been either lost or severely affected by this tragedy.

And it sounds like the rest of the world is also sitting in disbelief, watching the horror unfold on their TV screens or in their web browsers.

On Facebook, Twitter, etc we have seen people posting links to news items on the disaster, as well as posting comments along the lines of “my heart goes out”, “sending my thoughts and prayers”, etc.

Of course, this is the same sort of behaviour that we see every time something awful like this happens.

But I’ve had enough of hearing these types of comments. And you should too.

Why?

BECAUSE IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY HELP THE PEOPLE IN NEED

You know it. I know it.

A friend of mine summed this up brilliantly:

“JAPAN NEEDS OUR HELP … They don’t need money. They don’t need food. They don’t need water. They need LOVE. They need SUPPORT. They need Positive Vibrations.”

Yes, obviously he was being highly cynical, but his statement illustrates the underlying absurdity of “my heart goes out”-type statements.

There are only two options

The truth is, in global disasters of the kind we’re experiencing right now, there are really only TWO ways the average person can help:

1) Help in person
2) Donate money to support other people who are helping in person

That’s it.

There is no third option.

Sending “good vibrations” doesn’t make the cut.

Why?

BECAUSE IT’S A SELF-SERVING ACT

The only purpose of “my heart goes out”-type comments is to MAKE THE PERSON UTTERING IT feel better about not having to do anything more to help. It has no affect on anyone else.

The sub-conscious thought process of a person uttering this is basically:

“I’ve expressed my sympathy publicly, therefore I can pat myself on the back and go back to worrying about my mortgage repayments.”

It’s very similar to the whole “Slactivism” phenomenon, and I, for one, would like to see this kind of nonsense replaced by GENUINE ACTION THAT HELPS PEOPLE instead.

Time for action!

So I’m putting my money where my mouth is by making a direct donation to people who are assisting Japan. Every bit helps, and it’s the only one of the two options I can personally take.

I urge you to do the same, and I encourage everyone else who posts “my heart goes out”-type bullshit to actually do something more constructive … AND TAKE THEIR WALLETS OUT INSTEAD.

Yes, this is a harsh article. And it will probably make some people very uncomfortable … (most likely those very people who make “my heart goes out”-type comments and never do anything more…)

Does this make YOU feel uncomfortable?

Well then – TOUGH.

Hurting your feelings pales in comparison to those who are MUCH more uncomfortable right now … and those are the people who need our assistance. Sending out “good vibes” does not constitute “assistance”, and never will.

If you agree with me, please share this article with your friends and colleagues and do your bit to take one of the two actions mentioned earlier.