How does one not feel terrible all the time looking at the news?
Regardless of how you affiliate politically, when you look at articles or op-eds, or comment sections on any social media platform, it is truly horrific.
Aren’t we all the same? Truly just brothers and sisters trying to find understanding in this life? And I get it, there are people right off the bat that wouldn’t want to be considered the “same” as me or their neighbor or the family that lives halfway across the globe.
And I get that, too. Sometimes I desperately want to scream out, “please don’t affiliate me with them! We are not the same!”
But, damn it, we are. We breathe the same air and are made of the same stuff. What our hearts yearn for and what our brains think, is different. Many times, so different that it becomes difficult to comprehend.
So where do we go from there? How do we stay vigilant about those things that matter so much to us without losing our humanity?
I don’t really have an answer. I don’t always know how to check the news or read comments or overhear someone on the street without wanting to scream or cry. And, for the love of God, I am not always talking about Trump.
I’m talking about human rights violations in Syria and Russia and the Philippines. I’m talking about famine and near-famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. I’m talking about dictatorship in Venezuela. I’m talking about hunger and lack of access to medical attention in our own backyards.
How do I handle all of the information about those things when everything turns into an argument? And yes, sometimes constructive debate is the best we can start with. That is how we find the best ideas and solutions that may actually work. It’s how we call attention to institutionalized oppression and begin to address it. It is how we come together as a society, as human beings, to do what is best for all.
But yelling profanity, cutting down someone’s confidence, threatening abuse, alienating your friends… That’s just not how we do it.
How can I have any hope about a future of peace and fairness and equality for all when I can feel myself become darker and bitter?
What are we supposed to do?
We do something. You take a friend to coffee. You celebrate the little joys. You commit the acts of selflessness that feel embarrassing and weird at the time but do more for your soul than a heated debate ever could. You pay attention to the events in the world and force yourself to rise above and think “what can I do to make my little piece of this massive world a little bit better?”
You listen kindly and patiently to what people have to say. You acknowledge that even your worst enemy has feelings and an entire history of faults and joys. Maybe they don’t align with yours.
Well, maybe that’s how it has always been.
Stop reading those hateful comments. No one’s mind will ever be changed on Facebook. You’re not going to scream someone into submission. Stop wasting your energy on that.
Making your voice be heard, standing up for what you believe is right, and relentlessly working towards a goal: those things make sense. But even when everything else seems to be crashing down to the lowest level, maintain your dignity.
For when the time comes, those with their hearts still full and heads still above the smoke will lead us where we need to go.
Be that leader with a kind, compassionate heart and a soft, but firm voice.
Fill yourself up with the best things and leave no room for hatred and disgust.
Who are you? Democrat, Republican, Independent, unaffiliated? It doesn’t matter. We’ve all felt this way at some point or another.
Take a deep breath and steady your feet. We need you now more than ever.
P.S. I’ve been feeling terrible about current events for a long time and writing out my thoughts finally helped. Even if my words bring you nothing and you disagree with me wholeheartedly, that’s okay. Try writing your own thoughts down and let it bring you peace.