These days it seems difficult to stay positive. The news are filled with stories about violence, injustice toward minorities, political chaos and apparently a split nation. Personally, I stopped following the US news in March of 2002 right when the narrative revolved around the supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I found that the US news, on most channels, differed - sometimes significantly - from credible news sources in Europe and the Arab world and didn’t want to waste my time getting riled up in favor of someone else’s agenda.
This was just my personal decision but something simply felt off at that time. I stopped trusting most of our journalism practices. There just always seemed to be a commitment to stirring up the public’s emotions and it was always the same pattern. It was always pointing out a supposed threat, and a call to “protect our families”. (Of course everyone wants to protect their families but to my German trained ears this sounded like propaganda.) Besides that, I was used to factual (unemotional), statistical, provable news reporting, growing up in Europe where the news are just that: factual, statistical and provable, and much more credible.
By opting out of watching the US news, I missed the entire recent “fake news” concept. I believe the person who currently complains about "fake news" the loudest is himself a master at deception and spreading false information to support his own agenda. But that is also just my personal opinion and observation.
But I have noticed how much the “news” are impacting the people around me. Of course we need to stay informed, we can’t just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t care about the state of the world. And not all news are “bad”, some are positive, educational and truly informative. (For a list of credible, neutral news sources click here. My personal favorites are the German Tagesschau, BBC news and Al Jazeera).
Personally, I am just over the obvious attempt to stir up our emotions and create more fear in the public. The hype and created anxiety over things that simply aren’t a threat to us serves only the people in power (by the way, Hitler did something very similar to his base in the 1930s. Just look it up. It’s fascinating). And I am not going to buy into it anymore. I am committed to forming my own opinion, based on credible news sources or on my own personal observations.
I used to travel quite a bit when I was younger. I met Muslim women in East Africa who invited me to spend a few hours at a peacefully flowing river with them. I was taking pictures and they were doing laundry. It was their “social hour” and they were enjoying spending that time with each other. I was traveling by myself which they found outrageous, crazy and fascinating at the same time and we swapped stories with hand gestures and lots of laughter (as we didn’t speak the same language at all). I realized right there and then that the racial, cultural and religious differences couldn’t have been more significant between us, and yet we laughed about the same things and got moved by the same things. All we needed was some patience and the willingness to communicate. I made a bunch of new friends that day and I think I was invited at least half a dozen times for dinner (the hospitality of people in especially the poorest parts of the world is something that never ceases to amaze and humble me). What also stuck with me was how cautiously they observed me in the beginning, like I was the weird one. (To them, I was!) But they were willing to give me a chance and in hindsight I thought that was really generous of them as I completely didn’t fit in.
I truly believe that we are all the same. No matter our differences, our cultural, racial, religious or material upbringings. We laugh about the same things, and we cry about the same things. We all want to “protect our families”. We all love our children. (If you don’t believe this, book a trip to a foreign country and observe).
This article is about choosing love and courage - over fear and separation.
We always have a choice. We are entirely capable of focusing on love, compassion, and the light which is always there and much bigger and brighter than the other thing.
Here are three reasons why this is important:
1) The more you choose to come from love, compassion, empathy, tolerance … the more you train your brain to keep that going. We have all heard of neural pathways and neuroplasticity. The more you choose a certain way of thinking and feeling, the more your brain will kick in automatically next time and do it FOR you. This way you are CREATING the future you are going to live into. The more your brain automatically reacts to your perceived environment in a certain emotional frequency, the more you shape a future (for yourself and your loved ones) in that same tone. Speaking the Law of Attraction (here is a reminder).
2) IF there is an actual threat to you and/or your loved ones you are much better equipped to respond to it appropriately if you approach the situation with a level head - not coming from insane fear that will only paralyze you or have you overreact. The fear that we carry with us and that is heightened by certain news is mostly unfounded anyway. (How many burkas have you recently observed in this country? And how many acts of terrorism have been committed by Muslims or African-Americans? Statistics right here).
3) YOU are a leader in your own communities. We want our children to learn healthy ways of coping with this world. Children start observing and imitating our behaviors from as early on as 2 years of age. In order to create a world that works for everyone we will have to start teaching our younger generations the merits of living together peacefully. Not “the strongest man wins”. But the art of peaceful communication, compassion and compromise.
We are all in this together, and there is enough for all of us (and more)! Turn off the news. Don’t buy into their fabricated, manipulative message of fear and scarcity anymore. Listen to your heart and soul that is as old as the Universe, and lead your communities powerfully with compassion and love.