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  • Writer's pictureJH

The world is good. Or awful. You choose.

August 2, 2018

I don’t listen to CBC radio in the morning anymore.

I used to. It’s been the background sound of my a.m. coffee ritual for years, but not so much these days.

Specifically, I don’t listen to the news on CBC in the morning anymore. I’m sick of hearing the negative stories. There’s a tradition in the news business: If it bleeds, it leads. Well, I don’t need bleeding over breakfast.

So I don’t listen to CBC in the morning anymore.

I’ve become much more attuned to the negativity in the world over the past few months. Well, at least to the perception of negativity in the world. I’ve been doing some contract work in law enforcement, which has me immersed a little more than usual in stories about crime, danger, threats, and violence. I’ve also been noticing the negativity on social media – that addictive, attention-sucking mistress of modern life. The hateful comments. The bickering. The anger.

When I say I’m more attuned, I don’t just mean mentally. I mean physically. I’ve been feeling anxiety, unease, irrational fear. These are normal feelings at certain times, but they’ve been much more prominent lately and it’s not okay. Over the years I’ve studied a lot of wisdom that says perception is reality. That our thoughts create our world. I’ve also heard many times without really “getting it” that we become what we take in, not just in terms of food, but in terms of information.

How easy is it to develop a fearful perception of the world when you’re constantly bombarded with fearful things?

This is not to suggest that we should ignore danger or pretend bad things don’t happen. They do. But good things happen too. The world is a beautiful place full of beautiful people, but more and more that perception seems to be blotted out by a kind of darkness, at least in my experience. It’s unhealthy and I have no doubt that it drives a lot of people to illness and even breakdowns. I can absolutely see how that happens, given the exposure we constantly have to negative energy.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too. Maybe you’ve felt agitated or aggressive for no obvious reason. Maybe you’re stressed out. Maybe you can’t sleep. Maybe you’re always amped up and on high alert. Maybe your temper is short. Maybe you’re just depressed all the time. Maybe you feel helpless or sad or exhausted. Maybe you just can’t seem to get happy anymore and you don’t know why.

If so, I suggest you think a little bit about what you’re absorbing from the world. Do you read through Facebook comments and feel the rage? Do you have the news on all the time in the background, filling your head disproportionately with awfulness? I talked to someone recently who had become excessively afraid to drive on major highways after watching episodes of Heavy Rescue: 401.

Yes, information can affect you!

That’s why I’m working harder than ever to fill my space with positive things. I listen to spiritual podcasts. I listen to music I love. I avoid reading vitriol on Facebook and negativity on Instagram (a platform that, for reasons I don’t understand, still insists on suggesting videos of street fights for me in its search window). I follow inspiring people. I look for encouraging material. I know that a good world and a bad world are largely matters of perception and I’m trying to see a world framed by compassion and consciousness and love.

No, it’s not easy sometimes. In fact, it’s an enormous struggle, but so is living in fear.

So do yourself – and everyone else – a favour over the next week: Look for the positive things. Turn off the fearful news. Skip past the political rhetoric and the name-calling. Find things to laugh about. Read and listen to things that lift you up. Spend time with positive people. Be the evidence someone else needs to believe the world is good.

We’ll all be better off if we do.

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