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.
7 replies on “You Are the Missing Puzzle Piece: 2 Observations About the Daily Mind-Fight We All Experience”
Really nice piece Vilma, thank you 🙏
Couldn’t agree with you more
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Thank you, John!
Well said, Vilma. This is the challenge for all those who are sensitive to suffering and care deeply.
When I was 14, I wrote that I didn’t know how I would continue on in this world. The suffering of animals and humans was too much to bear.
That was a long time ago. But decades later, I still have many moments when I feel that way again. The only way I discovered I could go on was to realize exactly what you wrote about here and to accept that I am only one person and can only do my small part.
I am not able to save all those who are suffering in this world, as much as I wish I could. But I can do my part to lend an ear to a troubled friend, share a smile, speak with love, show compassion, try to be an example of that which I want to be: kind, understanding, patient and compassionate. I may fail daily, but I get up and do my best the next day.
I left social media to free myself to a simpler time when I wasn’t being presented with constant and troubling news, day in and day out, 24/7. I do watch the news and I do keep informed, but I work at also distancing myself from the noise and anger and confusion. I do get angry, of course, about injustice and cruelty and ignorance and ugliness. But I know that unless I focus on being the change I wish to see in this world, I will be pulled down to the level of constant anger and misery, which in the end will consume me and prevent me from being all the best I can be, ultimately destroying me.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations, as always!
Very well said! I agree with everything, especially this: “unless I focus on being the change I wish to see in this world, I will be pulled down to the level of constant anger and misery, which in the end will consume me and prevent me from being all the best I can be, ultimately destroying me.” You have to do what is best for you. If that means leaving social media, then so be it!
I sometimes wish we could go back to the days before social media. It seems people had more real interactions and didn’t participate in so much fighting and anger. But, I understand and I know social media is here to stay, so I will have to give it my all to be one of the positive ones when I’m on. It’s a struggle sometimes. I’ve learned to not get sucked into it as much as I was in the past, and that has helped a lot.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, as usual.
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Thank you, Vilma! I hear you about wishing we could return to the days pre-social media. It’s sad that so powerful a medium could actually divide us further, instead of uniting us towards more positive interactions and compassionate social change. Although there is a lot of good happening via social media, the sad reality is that the darkness often overshadows the good. People seem to feel entitled to be cruel, and this troubles me deeply.
I applaud you for hanging in there with social media, restricting it when necessary, and working at being one of the positive voices there!
I realized that for myself (an addictive personality type), I needed to cut myself free of it. I left my page up and people can reach me via messenger, but after four glorious months away from the time-suck of daily obsession, I feel somewhat like my old self, detached from most of the madness of the world, and understanding that it was just too much on a daily basis for me to attend to and ultimately feel good about. I came to the conclusion that humans were not meant to be involved in so many other lives–that we are ill-equipped to handle too much input, even if we want to–and that we (generally speaking) seem to thrive when we have just a few close people we interact with and care about.
And of course social media can have a depressive effect when the post we put up is ignored and we don’t understand why. Truth is, we don’t really know who is seeing our posts and who isn’t and it’s not necessarily a rejection of our shares. But at the same time, it became obvious to me that silly, frivolous posts were often popular but serious posts about, for instance, animal cruelty, were likely not even read or thought about. So the shallowness of human nature seemed highlighted on social media. I do understand that all humans want to see positive posts and happy shares, and I get that. So after many years of advocating for positive change regarding animals, I decided I had done my “tour of duty” as a fellow vegan friend called it, and I could retire.
Wow–I certainly have droned on here…lol…guess that reveals that not being on Facebook has shown me that when given a chance via another outlet, I can’t shut up. haha
Thanks for letting me vent. 😉
Barb, you can drone on all you want on here! I agree with everything you said, and I completely understand why you needed to remove yourself from social media. I am glad you are happier. I miss you on Facebook, but I am glad that you are commenting here!! Much love to you.
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Awww..thank you so much, Vilma! That means a lot to me, and you’ll never know how much I needed encouraging words just now. Much love to you, too. xx
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