You have probably done this. After you put your pants on and they didn’t fit quite right or after you got a speeding ticket on your way to work you listened intently to a negative narrative chattering away in your head. Because your pants didn’t fit, that means you’re now the “size of a house” and never going to the beach again. Because you got a speeding ticket, that means you’re a reckless person who’s life is clearly out of control. You need to get your sh*t together and soon. You have most likely engaged in the fine art and practice of taking something too seriously.
It’s completely natural for the mind to create drama, but the key is to not get drawn into those catastrophic thoughts, attach meaning to them, and allow them to take you down the proverbial rabbit hole. Not taking something too seriously gets down to discernment – being selective about what you pay attention to and believe.
Your mind and the news are extremely alike. They both have a passionate love-affair with negativity. Much like your mind is hardwired to think negatively, the news thrives on death and destruction. Apparently, “If it bleeds, it leads” is a commonly used slogan in the news journalism world. Treat the news like your brain – be very selective about what you pay attention to and believe. If you’re not discerning about what the news is telling you, it can be easy to think that all that death and destruction means the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
The news gives you only one perspective and with its focus on crime and injustice, it appears that our society is going down a slippery slope heading towards the apocalypse of humanity. Is that the truth, though? According to Harvard researcher Steven Pinker, the world is safer than it ever has been. According to his research, we are living in the most peaceful times in history. The murder rate, number of war deaths, and the percentage of the population dying of infectious diseases are all lower now than ever before. Life expectancy, quality of life, and percentage of the population with access to education are all increasing.
There is always more than one way to see something and unfortunately, the news doesn’t change its angle to remind us of how far we’ve come.
Just like that voice inside your head, the news is a story teller and it’s not telling you the whole story.
Yes, it’s true, while watching the news you see dark energies (meaning, people are in the dark about why they are here and what matters most) all over the world harming others and causing devastation, however, the news doesn’t show you the light that seen because of the dark. The news doesn’t show you all the acts of heroism, compassion, and generosity that happen as a result of tragedies, acts of terrorism, and war.
After a town, city, or country endures a natural disaster or suffers great loss, you don’t learn the many ways that setback moved people forward in their collective and individual journeys. You’ll never know what relationships were healed, who had a grand awakening, or what lessons were learned from the destruction and distress they endured.
Lord knows you see your fair share of “hate crimes” nowadays stemming from fear and intolerance, but do you notice how much love there is? Next time you’re caught up in the story that the world is a cold and cruel place, go to the airport and hang out at the arrivals area. With all the hugging, laughing, and tears of joy, it’s a veritable love-fest.
In the movie, Love Actually, Hugh Grant’s character, David, narrates as follows: “When I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love, actually, is all around.”
I know it’s very tough to see what they show you on the news, but remember that it’s only the dark part of a bigger story that contains just as much light.