Why I didn’t #prayforparis [hint: it’s not lack of empathy]

This might be one of the posts I was most hesitant to post and there’s a knot in my stomach still. Yet it was this very bugger that basically forced me to write this in the first place. Do you ever have a topic stuck on the front of your mind and can’t shove it aside?

I tried to talk myself out of writing this as I’m afraid of coming across as: rude/unempathetic/insert other negative adjective. Which is not my intention and hopefully not what others perceive me as. Rather, it’s a topic on my mind which I see being the point of Amanda’s invitation to think out loud.

What I will talk about is a touchy subject so I want to be clear about a few things first:

1. In case you didn’t see my post on Sunday where I briefly talked about it: I think that what happened in Paris is horrible. And that’s not even expressing my feelings because there are no words for this.

2. I’m solely referring to the hashtag #prayforparis. This isn’t saying my thoughts weren’t with the survivors, victims and families left behind.

2. What I will talk about is my very personal decision and reasoning – not intended to say anybody posting this was wrong or shouldn’t have done so.

3. Prayers and solidarity are very much needed in times like these.

After I heard of the shootings and everybody posted on Instagram, Twitter or changed their Facebook profile I considered joining for a brief moment, too. But then I quickly changed my mind.


Here’s why I didn’t:

Lack of words. I didn’t want to simply change my profile picture or just post a picture. That didn’t feel enough to me as my personal statement.

Who’s supposed to see this post? I feel that some – again: not all – people joined in using the hashtag and posting because [almost] everybody did and they felt they had to. For all of your real friends and people who know you it should be obvious that you would in no way support the assassination of Paris. No sane person would ever approve of anything as horrible as those shootings or any kind of massacre or violence.

It became like a trend and overused. And this is not what it should be. Yes, I might be an overthinker but I feel this topic is too serious to turn it into a hype and tag even your unrelated pictures #prayforparis. What I did appreciate, however, where people who really took the time to express their feelings.

If I prayed for Paris: what about the rest of the world and the remainder of the year? It’s a fact I think most of us are probably aware of but don’t consciously remind ourselves of every day: there’s terror happening in the world every day. Tragedies. Every minute. Every second. People die. People suffer. Families mourn the loss of loved ones. I’m not better than other people. I would feel weird showing empathy in this one event yet turning a blind eye for the remainder of the year. I’d feel wrong being selective in my empathy [or at least the part publicly displayed].

Can words make a change? As you might know I’m a huge believer in the power of writing. But with this tragedy I was both at a loss for what to say and unsure how much words would help the people affected. Sadly, you cannot send hugs out to the mourning families because I’d send thousands of those <3.

Once again, I’m not judging you for posting your feelings, using #prayforparis or changing your profile picture. If you did I’m genuinely interested in why and as always open to change my mind.

In my opinion, we should be empathetic every day. Starting with the way we treat those around us already. When I’m scrolling through Instagram and see some people’s unnecessarily hurtful and rude comments on others’ posts. People threatening others because they “dared” to change their diets: this isn’t a world I want to live in. If there’s one thing events like this should encourage us to do it’s: to bring more love and less hate into the world. It’s acts of kindness that will make a change.


Over to you: Did you join #prayforparis – why or why not? As well as any other  Please be kind and don’t hate. Like I said I do not judge anybody for joining #prayforparis. This is my very personal explanation on why I didn’t and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Happiness-inducing today: Being busier than usual and able to help others.

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21 thoughts on “Why I didn’t #prayforparis [hint: it’s not lack of empathy]

  1. Kate Bennett says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do agree that these kind of events tend to be sensationalized for about a week until people somehow seem to forget them. Do you remember the Kony 2012 campaign? It died really quickly. I also don’t think prayer is a substitute for action.
    Personally I pray for the world every single day. When the event happened in Paris, I immediately began praying for God to provide comfort and hope to the families who lost their loves ones.
    I don’t know why/how, but I do think some people tend to be more compassionate than others. I think some people go about their day without a thought to the world around them and I honestly don’t get that.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Embarrassingly, I don’t remember the campaign which goes to show how quickly they fade away – not the way it should be. And that’s what makes me sad, too. It’s wonderful you’re praying for the world every day not just when things like this happen.

  2. Michele @ PaleoRunningMomma says:

    I definitely think very much like you…sometimes I think I just overthink these things, or that maybe I start getting overwhelmed and too upset about the every-second-there’s-a-tragedy thing, but I never know what to say and just stay quiet. I also get a bad taste when serious things are sensationalized or trendy. Many of my thoughts here.

  3. Chocolaterunsjudy says:

    Actually, I didn’t join in either. I considered it: I considered looking at my own photos from paris and posting something.

    Sometimes I join in on these sorts of things, sometimes not.

    I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. The people who joined aren’t wrong and neither are we. It’s a matter of personal belief and that is, indeed, what makes the world go round. And having the freedom to choose is one of the best ways I know to battle terrorism.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Judy. I definitely agree there’s no right or wrong. Whether or not somebody joins is a gut decision, I think. My criticism with some people joining was just questioning how genuine they are about it.

  4. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    I echo what Judy said in a lot of ways — I think it largely depends on the person. I’m not great with social media to begin with, so hopping on Twitter or Facebook when the news broke wasn’t exactly at the forefront of my mind. And it still isn’t. But then there are people who are social media masterminds, and they’re all over it. I’ve seen a lot of really great messages out there, but I do hope that people are being genuine and not just jumping on it because it’s currently trending.

  5. briwifruit says:

    I didn’t join in either. I shared a few heartfelt posts from others who more eloquently expressed how I was feeling as well and left it at that. Instead, I read up as much as I could about the situation and blogged today about what I plan to do in response.

  6. mylittletablespoon says:

    I agree with you. Social media is such a strange, strange thing, and it wasn’t until very recently when I started my blog that I hopped in to any of it. I often secretly feel this judgement of inauthenticity when I see posts regarding serious events. But, then I feel guilty thinking this because at least it IS a form of showing compassion/prayer etc. So really, I need to remember it does no harm and people can express themselves in whatever medium they feel comfortable. Just for me personally, like you said, I don’t feel I could ever express my thoughts as I fully want to through social media. Like this past week, I can’t find the words.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      That’s an interesting perspective from you as somebody who isn’t into social media [and I mean that in a very positive way]. Instagram aside I don’t use social media a lot, either, and even there am not too active. It’s hard to guess what is going in other people’s minds yet like you I occasionally get an inkling some posts aren’t authentical or genuine. You shouldn’t feel guilty for questioning this as your thoughts aren’t hurting anybody. Just like everybody else is entitled to express their feelings through social media in whichever way they feel like.

  7. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) says:

    Thank you for sharing! I did participate in the #prayforparis. I really had to do a double heck to make sure that I was doing it out of compassion for those in Paris, not peer pressure to just join the social media bandwagon. We’ve been praying for Paris as a family almost every day. Yet it’s so hard to have the real words to say, because I don’t even comprehend the pain and sorrow everyone is experiencing. I interviewed a girl from Paris, and several of her close friends were killed in the attacks. It’s so sobering. You almost don’t know what to say. It makes you feel somewhat helpless, so I’m learning that the best thing I can do is pray for comfort for those affected and protection. Thank you for getting me to think about this!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      It’s wonderful you’ve been praying for Paris as a whole family, Emily <3.
      I’m curious about the interview you mentioned. What was it for and was the girl a friend of yours? I’m sorry for her loss. There are really no words to console people after a happening like this.

  8. Gretchen | Gretchruns says:

    You completely took the words from my mouth. Completely agree with you on all fronts! I feel like people do this either because they feel like they have to, or to join in the movement. Of course, we all feel terrible and hate what happened. Joining in a social media movement doesn’t make anyone a better person than someone who doesn’t use the hashtag.

  9. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    Sure I felt devastated for Paris, but … You’re right … What about the REST of the world? There are situations/episodes like this that happen DAILY!! But since it happened in THE CITY OF LOVE it gets a lot of press.

    I did however change my profile pic on FB to have the French Flag colors… But um… I am French 😉

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