Sometimes I get down and sad, I get really worried (especially for my children) and wonder what is becoming of the world I am a part of. Most of the time this happens when I come across a news headline or Facebook post of some horrendous tragedy that has happened for seemingly no reason, something awful that one person has inflicted on another. In my mind, I know the media plays up the most shocking, horrible occurrences to increase their readership or ratings, instead of focusing on positive news, however, I wonder why do these things still happen to begin with? Even if they only happen to one or two people out of hundreds or thousands or millions of the people alive, why do they happen at all?
There is no reason why, at least no reason that will ever make horrible acts against innocent people remotely understandable. If I dwell on these things for too long, my mind and heart start to get weighed down, and my anxiety levels will shoot through the roof. Instead of mulling over a recent tragedy or worrying about the future actions of others (something I have little to no control over), I try to do the following-
Be grateful. Gratitude seems to be a cure all in life. The more we are grateful, the less we worry about situations, money, worries, things that may or may not happen. Recognizing the abundant blessings we have already enjoyed up to this point in our lives helps to alleviate any worry we may feel about things that may or may not happen in the future.
Make a difference. If there are people and places in the world that are dangerous, we should remember that they became that way for various reasons, not just because that person or place was always ‘evil’ or ‘bad’. There were most likely many factors that contributed to creating the person or atmosphere where horrible things happen. It is up to each of us to help change those factors in the lives of others, so we give society a chance to break the cycle of violence in communities and individual lives. Figure out how you can make a difference.
Look for the good. One of the first things I do when I feel myself becoming consumed by some situation that has shaken my faith in humanity is to turn off my access to information. Get off the computer, turn the TV off, don’t check Facebook or email (news headlines are everywhere in Gmail!). Go for a walk outside and take some deep breaths, then start looking for goodness. You can find it when your neighbor waves and says hi, when your child gives you a hug, when you breathe deep and enjoy the fresh air.
Relinquish control. Not that we really have it to begin with, at least not over other people or situations. Despite what we may think and feel, there is only so much we have control over in our lives, and if people are set on causing good or harm towards others, they will usually find a way. We need to realize that most people on earth are raised with a propensity towards goodness and helping others, or at least not causing harm. Bad things happen to good people for no reason other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time without being aware of it. Such is life.
Do something nice for someone. Restore your own faith in humanity by being a part of the good in the world. Visit someone who is feeling down, take dinner to an elderly neighbor or new mother, send a card to a family member, take flowers to a friend, make a phone call to someone lonely. Giving service is a great way to remove the focus from the worry and inability to prevent bad things from happening and changing to focusing on what you can do as an individual, and it helps shape and change other people’s lives as well, perpetuating goodness throughout the world.
Although preventable tragedy occurs, and horrible, violent acts happen to innocent people, it is our responsibility to help lift each other up, bring forth the good in those around us and ourselves and continue to work towards making the world a better, happier place for everyone. One thing I try to remember is that by the time I am reading or hearing about something awful that has taken place, it is over, it’s past. It’s time for me to do what I can to make the world better, not to dwell on what happened.