I teach people how to discuss sensitive issues and build consensus. They are more successful when they keep calm and avoid, or minimize, direct confrontation or “wrong making.” So some may think I’m unflappable. I actually feel deeply, but when speaking to others I try to practice what I teach.
I am flappable, but I usually do my flapping in private. I did quite a lot of flapping, lost a few nights sleep, over the deluge of bad news last week. The Supreme Court issued several discouraging decisions. Widespread drought. Wildfires. And, of course, the news from Ukraine continues to disturb me.
I know that the state conventions of political parties often adopt priorities that will fire up their members with a lot of bluster that they might not expect to actually accomplish. Still, when I read that the Texas GOP convention’s priorities included a referendum on the secession of Texas from the United States and withdrawal of U.S. membership from the United Nations, it broke my heart.
Doing What One Can
But as I’ve written before, while I believe in staying informed, I do not immerse myself in negative news. in fact, I dithered over whether or not to give even the brief statement above about why I was so flapped last week.
Early in the morning after one of those sleepless nights, it came to me, I’m only one person, but I will do what I can. I focused on how important it is to make sure people in ant-abortion states can get birth control if they want it. I got up, went to my computer and donated to organizations, like Planned Parenthood, which has a long-time philosophy of “prevention first.”
I thought, in particular, about the fact that the frontal lobes of kids’ brains aren’t fully formed till they are about 25 or 30 years old. (Frontal lobes produce good judgement.) My church has excellent sex education materials for teenagers. I wrote to one of the leaders suggesting those be made available beyond our own congregations.
Doing active things to help with nation-wide issues went a long way to cheering me up. Then, I turned to another antidote for flapping.
Seeking Out Positive News
I begin every day with a visit to The Good News Network e-zine. When I was flapping, that website had so many things that comforted me that I can’t write about all of them in one blog post. Here are some short descriptions and links to larger articles:
- People with dyslexia have special skills and achievements. Examples include Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Sir Stephen Hawking, Sir Richard Branson and Steve Jobs.
- Unique initiative trains homeless people to drive vans, rescuing food for distribution back at the shelter.
- A Renaissance painting was found in a 90 year old woman’s home and enabled her to fund better care.
- Floating drones can gather up plastic waste before it ever reaches the ocean.
- Scientists have found a direct link between vitamin D and and prevention of strokes and dimentia.
Closer to Home
Like taking action to help large numbers of people, helping out other individuals cheers you as well as them. As far as I know, my neighbor across the hall doesn’t need help, but I thought of writing her a note about how much I enjoy her many beautiful and creative door hangings.
My great niece is a constant source of joy for me. I always keep her latest videos and photos on my computer desktop and look at them several times each day.
Exercise is a pick me up in more ways than one. Even little accomplishments, like tidying up or dealing with a stack of mail, can cheer you.
How About You
What actions can you take to address news that flaps you? Where do you go to find positive news? What common household activities raise your spirits? Whomever you can cheer up today, that will bring you joy.
Thanks for your post, Margaret. I’ve tried not to flap. I have a few mental exercizes that I do each day to keep me focused on positive thoughts and goals. I have continued to find inspiration in my everyday life from seemingly insignificant things, but they add up. Your great niece is a source of comfort and joy to you and small tasks help you to feel good. I agree. It’s not all about major accomplishments, rather many small things that help to complete the big picture. I have appreciated being included in your periodical messages. They have helped me. Best, JB
Thanks, John. You are right. I’ve thought about what you wrote, and I think the comfort and joy we get from doing lots of little positive things may actually last longer than one big accomplishment.This is a quotation from the movie The hobbit, an Unexpected Journey.
Elvin Queen Galadriel asks the wizard Gandalf why he brought the hobbit Bilbo on his quest. Gandalf replies:
Thanks to you both for your comments. Much energy has been lost by concerning myself only with hitting the big milestones, and not realizing or remembering that small wins still go in the Win column. Every day deeds… indeed.
I am so glad you liked this post, Vivi. Thanks for commenting.