Every day is a mind-fight lately. Every single day.
I am addicted to news, and it is harming me. I need to put away my phone and focus on what I can change or improve, not on everything that goes on everywhere.
Can you relate to this?
You might be like me and need to better the world or at least make a difference. It is normal to want to know your work is important, your mere existence matters to others, and your participation matters to someone. You are not alone.
You might be someone who needs to know what is happening. You want to stay informed, so you are constantly checking your phone, reading tweets about Marjorie Taylor Greene’s latest gaffe, or wondering what Biden is going to do next. You are on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, and wonder if you are too old to post something on TikToc.
You need to know; you are a curious creature. You need to be informed. But, you have fallen into the 21st-century-news-media-junkie trap.
I get it. I get it fully.
Yesterday, I realized two things: I can’t change the world by myself, and change takes a long time.
Not a profound statement and everyone knows this on a mental level, but have your emotions caught up to your logic?
There is no way any human being can carry the world’s burdens on his shoulders. There is too much to fix and to change. One person cannot do it themselves and remain happy, healthy, and sane.
And, guess what? Being a news or social media junkie won’t change anything either.
So, what do you do about this conundrum? What is the solution?
Here are Two Observations About the Daily Mind-Fight We All Experience:
It is necessary to compartmentalize and you are normal.
We choose, unconsciously, to ignore the raped kids three states away, the children in cages in Texas, the billions of animals suffering and killed every year, or the homeless person we drive by on the way to work. And, we go about our business without a second thought.
We pick our battles. We choose who or what matters to us. We decide what tragedy to ignore, what tragedy is personal, what tragedy to compartmentalize. This is the human condition. It is normal.
We all purposely live in denial to a point. Am I worried about homeless people in India, the genocide in Yemen, the violence on the Gaza strip, the poor worldwide, or the latest person who died at sea? No, I’m not. And, most likely, neither are you.
We only focus on what matters to us, as selfish as that is. (What matters to me now are the ten people who just needlessly died in Boulder because it is personal.)
Did you know, according to the United Nations, 65.3 million people worldwide have been displaced from their homes? That means millions of people are refugees or asylum seekers; they have no place to call their own to sleep, eat, or just be.
At the moment I am writing this blog, a child is being taken by human traffickers so they can sell her body for sex. As a matter of fact, one child is taken every 2.5 hours in the United States, and 96 percent are females. Startling statistics but sadly they don’t make most of us care (at least, not care enough).
We only care if we are affected personally. Psychologists theorize humans have a case of what they call “psychic numbing.” Basically, the more victims in a tragedy, our empathy and willingness to help decreases. We see the numbers of victims as abstract, or in other words, the human mind is not very good at empathizing with millions or billions of people in turmoil.
I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty or depressed. I am also human, and I do the same thing.
Today’s endless tragedies are too much. They are too much for one person to endure, much less fix. We ignore most because we need to.
It is normal.
You are the missing puzzle piece in the scheme of it all.
You can’t solve all the world’s many problems, nor will you care about most of them, but you can help solve ONE issue. This, too, is the human condition.
We’ve all worked puzzles as kids. If one piece in a puzzle is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. If you and I are not contributing to the puzzle of the world’s problems, the problems of this world will remain.
Not only will the puzzle be incomplete, but a new paradigm that would shift things for the better might never occur. We all have something we can do to help fix the world’s messes. We all can contribute somehow.
You matter. You are alive and you matter. You are a missing puzzle piece, and your work matters. What you choose to do could make the difference between life and death for others, the betterment of society, or the next scientific breakthrough. You are the piece missing in the puzzle of it all.
You must contribute YOUR PART, your unique gift. I must contribute MY PART. Together, not having THE WHOLE WORLD ON OUR SHOULDERS, we can do this!
Being angry or sad because the world sucks is a normal response. Wallowing in anger or sadness is not helpful for any of us, though. It is only making you and me angrier and taking away our happiness and peace. Skimming my phone and watching more and more depressing news stories isn’t making the world a better place either.
Let’s ditch the news addiction and focus more on our puzzle pieces.