I feel like an old person when I say how depressing and discouraging it is to listen to the news. It’s been a couple of years since I removed all news outlets from my Facebook feed because I found that it was rarely good news. The comments and reasons people shared news posts was not really to build anyone but rather prove someone wrong or destroy another person’s point of view.
For example, a while back a new policy was announced in my church that was clearly going to affect my family. It was an upsetting time for members of the church and people outside of the church. The posts on social media were scathing and mean, sometimes misrepresented or misinformed, and many completely lacked compassion. People came out of the woodwork to ask my opinion or how I felt, although they were mostly people who hadn’t talked to me in a long time. It felt like they just wanted to add my story to their negative opinion.
I was overwhelmed with the news, the texts and phone calls, and even my own feelings that I still needed to figure out. I couldn’t change what others were doing or saying but I could control what was lighting up my news feed. I had the opportunity to choose to learn what I needed to learn about the new policy and to respond instead of react. Because I did that, a hard situation was easily resolved and my fears were unfounded.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
“There may be many things about life that are beyond your control. But in the end, you have the power to choose both your destination and many of your experiences along the way. It is not so much your abilities but your choices that make the difference in life.
You cannot allow circumstances to make you sad.
You cannot allow them to make you mad.
You can be glad.”
The recent news is a lot like this experience I had a few years ago. Terror attacks, mass-shootings, unsafe schools, a wildly-politicized country, dictators with dangerous weapons, etc. The news is scary. And, it turns people around us a little scary, too. “More guns. No guns. Impeach the president. Everyone’s wrong and I am right.” Do you hear conversations like this?
I overheard a person say that our president would be just like the North Korean leader if given the chance. Even with my views on the president, it made me shudder a little. Is it valid to make assumptions like that? To give someone the label and evilness of something they haven’t done because we don’t like them?
Once, I was turned down for a job because someone made an assumption about me. It was a wild accusation about my gender and marital status. The person said it is better not to put me in a situation because “something might happen.” He labeled me based on something I hadn’t done and had never shown the character of doing. It was incredibly hurtful (not to mention totally unprofessional and illegal).
It was funny that when I overheard the comment about what the president could be like, I remembered the sting of being turned down for a job because of something I didn’t do. I’m not really a fan of his but I didn’t feel like the comment made against him was fair.
At this point, you may all be wondering where the heck I am going with this soapbox.
I’ll tell you.
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Some news is unavoidable, terrible and scary. We have no way to control others’ opinions and even should respect the differences between us. But, there is so much we can do to add a little light to the dark feelings of current events and actions of others.
So take a minute to think about how you are building goodness or happiness around you. Are you mad or sad? What have to you done to be glad?
Do one thing today. Do something. Something for a family member, a stranger, a co-worker. Post something uplifting on social media.
Tell us about it in the comments here or over on our Facebook Page. We love happy news!