If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks of violence have felt very dark. With the most recent mass shootings, I’ve sought solace with friends, talking through the events of the day. It’s hard not to give in to our fears—not for ourselves, but our children and grandchildren. What kind of world are we building for them when it seems like violence, political tension, and inequality are only getting worse? In a world that seems to be drowning in negativity, how do we find positivity?
I’ve made a conscious effort lately to downsize my news consumption. I want to stay informed, but I also don’t want to wallow in the negative, which definitely gets top billing on most newscasts. Finding positivity can be a challenge right now.
Luckily, I’m surrounded by grounded and wise people. My friends wisely reminded me that we could only control our own universe. In these desperate times, we need to create even more happiness, joy, and wonderful memories by bringing kindness into our interactions.
While I wish that I could single-handedly stop gun violence, I can’t. Unless I run for office, my influence over politics stops with my vote. As a business owner, I can do my part by paying fair wages and treating my employees well, but I can’t end income inequality.
What I can control is my universe. One person’s actions may only affect those closest to them, but those actions can have a ripple effect across the nation. By becoming involved in something that matters to me, such as volunteering on Little League Board where my grandson plays baseball, volunteering in the Women’s Ministry at my church to help unfortunate women, or helping at our charity of choice with abused children at Olive Crest, I can make a difference. I can continue to create wonderful holidays and experiences for our family and cherish the memories and relationships. I can continue to be with wonderful friends and create fun trips and getaways for everlasting memories.
Losing my dad was a huge hit for me last year. He was the one that I would turn to when times got dark. And even though I can’t call him up now, his wisdom still rings in my ears. When I was anxious or worried, he would so wisely respond, “Julie, our country always rebounds, and we have been through so much worse.”
Dad could say this with confidence because he had lived it. He lived through the Vietnam War and the political divisions over our involvement there. He survived the assassination of JFK and Robert Kennedy. He watched as a great leader like Martin Luther King fell in the line of hatred because of racism.
His family had thought that the world was ending when JFK was killed. They thought the country would buckle under the weight of despair. The economy crashed, and people were desperate. While they didn’t have mass shootings back then, the nation was gripped in fear as serial killers hunted our citizens.
Hearing my dad talk about dealing with those events put things into perspective for me. Evil didn’t enter the world in the last few years, but with social media and the 24-hour news cycle, we are bombarded with it. Hearing it all the time can make you feel hopeless. In the 1960s, it was only at 5:00 PM with Walter Cronkite that you learned of the news of the day.
So what’s my point? We will survive. We always do. My dad’s generation survived their hardships and growing pains. We will survive these times too. And perhaps if we turn off the news and plug into our communities to see how we can help, we can start pushing our society back into a period of positivity.
I challenge you to turn off the negative news for a bit and find stories that uplift you. Make a conscious effort to feed your mind positive images. Whether you’re catching up on the latest American Idol or reading a new book to your child or grandchild, there are ways to infuse your life with positivity. Go out there and create your best life!