Spam Filter For Your Brain - Episode 47
I thought it was important to record an extra podcast today to address something that I've been seeing a lot of on the internet at the moment. And that is people conflating how much horror they are consuming from the news and world events, conflating that with how much they care about things. And if you need a permission slip, I want you to take this as it is. That the amount of other people's horror and horrific circumstances and pain that you witness has no correlation to how much you care. And I think sometimes people can get really muddled up with thinking that they need to witness all of the things that are going on in the world to show that they are the most informed, the most compassionate, that they are not abandoning the people that they are seeing going through all of the terrible things; that them watching it is somehow showing some sort of companionship and allyship with the people who are going through all of the suffering. And I invite you to just get curious about how that is serving you and how that is serving them.
Because I know when I see too many things that are horrific, what it does is it shuts me down; it terrorises me. It means that I'm not able to sleep, it means that I'm not as well rested or as clear-headed to be able to think about how I want to respond to this stuff. What it means is that I, too, am exhausted and have less to give, there's less of me to go around; there's less of me to be able to think about what ways I can respond that are productive, that helpful, that are useful, how I can reach out to people, what actions I can take.
Actively choosing to not be a consumer in the voyeurism of other people's torment has left me in a position where I'm able to redirect the energy that I do have to work out how I want to respond, whether I want to write letters, go to demonstrations, connect with people, have difficult conversations. Any way that I think taking action that aligns with my values and my politics is available to me, and I just have less of that to go around when I am frozen in horror, witnessing other people's pain.
So this is just a little reminder to you that how much you watch how much of other people's horrific circumstances you witness does not equate to how much you care. And when we realise that we can make far more conscious choices about what we want to do with that energy that we have resourced ourselves with to make the world a more kind, a more just, a more peaceful and a more caring place, that is down to us. There is no big world picture out there. There are just millions of people's everyday interactions.
With that energy that you save, you could make a decision today, looking at all of the horrors that you have been witnessing on the news, to think about someone who you have a bit of friction with, a bit of tenseness, a tiny, all great big point of conflict, you could actively choose to try and bridge that gap today. That is the ripple that you have the energy to grow and create, as well as the great big political stuff when you are more clear because you're not exhausted from consuming so much news.
Our brains are not designed to see this much terror. Our brains are not meant to be witnessing this much abject horror. We can make a choice to step away from it so we can make active choices about building a better world.
This was something I really felt the need to say this week. I hope that it lands with grace and kindness with you, and I hope you are able to resource yourselves for the bombardment that we are getting from everywhere.
I am wishing you well. And I'm wishing you kindness and calm and the courage to be able to reach out to someone, one who feels like maybe you have your own little piece of peace that you can create here today, just from thinking about how we can each create a little ripple effect from our own decisions and our own choices.
I'll speak to you next week.