Knowing Your Limits
These past weeks have been heart wrenching and terrifying. Forty-nine people killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando for reasons that are still unclear. Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, shot by police in Baton Rouge in the early morning hours of July 5. In response, three police officers were shot and killed this past Sunday morning in Baton Rouge by a former Marine. In Dallas, five officers were killed when a former Army reservist opened fire during a protest of the killings of Sterling and Philando Castile, who was killed in Minnesota by police on July 6. In Nice, France, 84 people were killed when a man, allegedly described as a “soldier of Islam,” plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.
I think that we are living in historical times, a history that none will look back upon fondly. Everywhere we turn there seems to be bad news and there are few places to find refuge.
Dr. Wendy Walsh, who can be heard on radio station KFI, warned of two possible results that we might experience from being deluged with such horrific news. One is that we can become desensitized due to overexposure, that we will be less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty, violence or suffering. What a horrible thing to happen – especially if one considers how much would need to be viewed and/or experienced for this to occur. But it is understandable how that could happen when one considers that news – especially bad news – is just a click or search away. Remember in the “olden days” when one waited for the daily paper or TV evening news to deliver the events of the day? Not so today.
Another reaction to bad news overload is that we can become overly anxious, looking around every corner for something “bad” to happen. To me this is a more understandable reaction because “if it can happen [insert name of town, city or circumstance] then it could happen to me.” However, Dr. Walsh cautions that responding in such a way as to change one’s routine would be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing.
Instead she recommends looking for the good that surrounds us, to balance out the negativity with positive thoughts, experiences and interactions. I think she mentioned something about a cat video… The important take-away point was to balance the negative input with positive input.
Here at CV Weekly, building on the popularity of Throwback Thursday when people share photos on social media of themselves from years earlier (remember shoulder pads and poofy hair?), I instituted Feel Good Friday. Every Friday I find a short video that I post on our Facebook site that will put a smile on our readers’ faces.
Will it counter the terror that can easily be found in today’s world? Probably not, but hopefully it will be a reminder that there is still something to smile about and remind us to be kinder to each other.