It can be very easy to become disheartened.
The past week has been a nauseating week for media watchers, as we dive deep into terrorist attacks in France and the murder of a little girl far closer to home. Many friends despaired of seeing or finding the good news (any good news), the snippets of good that can counteract the bad. And as I interacted with them I realized a couple of things.
First, let’s not be too harsh on professional media, because media does nothing more than hold a mirror up to us and catches our reflection. It’s tough to look at it sometimes, particularly when it is an ugly image of death and pain, but the truth is that we encourage media to cover those stories with every “like”, comment and share. They are telling the stories that over time we have told them we want to see – the dark and scary ones, unfortunately.
There are so many stories of good out there – uplifting, soul-feeding wonderful stories – but media tends to only focus on the big ones of that nature, while the small acts of kindness rarely make the news; and yet the small acts of hate and anger often do. There is an imbalance there, and it’s one we can’t look to media to address: we need to do it ourselves.
Take a look at your own social media. Now, you might not be a radio host or a journalist, but in today’s world you ARE media. Every story you share is amplifying it, giving it a broader platform and wider reach.
Now, what are you sharing? Is it mostly recipes or cat photos? Is it mostly stories about amazing people doing remarkable things? Is it about acts of kindness and generosity?
Or is it mostly dark and scary stories about the unpleasant, the unfortunate or the tragic?
We all have a role to play now. Once upon a time we exerted little control over the types of stories we saw printed and aired, but now more than ever we can have a tremendous impact on how others perceive the world – just by what we choose to share and the stories we choose to tell.
Acts of kindness don’t need to be grandiose to count as good. And they don’t need to be found in professional media alone, as many of us can find examples in our own lives, and we can quickly share them on our social media, contributing to a positive feeling about our planet.
And we can also share fewer of the dark and scary stories – not because we are ignoring them but because the continual sharing and resharing of such information amplifies it in such a way that one could easily begin to despair for the good in our world. And it’s not because the good doesn’t exist, but because we have chosen to amplify the bad instead.
The truth is that we have tremendous opportunity now to be the media we want to see in the world. If we want to see more good then we need to share our own good news stories and amplify those shared by others. We can choose to acknowledge the bad news, but we can refuse to let it dominate our hearts, our minds and our social media feeds. And once you do this, it’s remarkable how the darkness seems to lift a bit and light begins to poke through.
So the next time you are feeling disheartened, convinced there is no good to be found in this world and all is lost, take a look at your own social media and see what you’ve been sharing. And if it’s dark, then share one good story from yourself or a friend instead. Find just one small good story in the news and share it. Or share a funny video, a cat photo or a really great recipe.
Be the media you want to see in the world – and start changing how you and others see our planet, one small story at a time. The power is right at your fingertips.