I sent out a survey a couple of weeks ago asking folks about their main life stressors. Some folks are concerned about the state of the world, both politically and environmentally. They are feeling anxiety and deep sadness, as well as a sense of powerlessness. I understand.
When I get caught up in political divisiveness and all the ills of the world, I can get sucked down the rabbit hole of despair, too. I can feel overwhelmed and powerless, also. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to become completely absorbed and riddled with anxiety.
Nicole Bird is a wonderful, insightful coach whom I follow. This morning she sent out a brilliant blog post called, What Facebook Has to Teach Us About Anxiety. I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to read her post. In a nutshell, she is comparing our thoughts to our Facebook feed. Facebook is constantly updating our feed and, whatever we click on, Facebook gives us more like it. If I click on despair, I’ll get more despair. If I click on divisiveness, I’ll get more divisiveness. If I click on puppies, I'll get more puppies!
This is how our thoughts work, too. Whichever thoughts we “click on” become the thoughts that show up in our mind’s “feed” more often. If I want to feel less anxiety and more inspiration, then I need to stop clicking on the stressful thoughts and let them move along. No need to fight, control, or change them, rather, stop clicking and let them move on. The algorithms of my mind will show them less often when I stop clicking on them. This understanding is important regarding Facebook algorithms and our minds’ algorithms as it relates to finding peace and making a difference in the world because what we click on becomes our felt reality.
So, you want to make a difference but you feel anxious, sad, or a trembling outrage. My question to you is this: What would happen if you stopped consuming the articles of horror? What would happen if you’d let your nervous system calm down a bit from the constant onslaught? What would happen if you tapped into your innate resilience and wellbeing and recognized the same in those around you? How might you show up differently in the world? What would become clear to you about your role in a world full of injustice? Of course, you can't possibly know as long as you are caught in the onslaught.
When we are consumed with overwhelm, fear, or rage, I believe our effectiveness is severely diminished. I remember at the time of my deepest depression, 20 years ago, I sat on the couch for weeks at a time watching the Kosovo War on television. I watched for hours a day becoming more and more depressed and despairing. The depression and despair rendered me absolutely incapable of effectual action. You see, I couldn’t do a damn thing about the Kosovo War. I truly couldn’t. But by going down the rabbit hole of despair and becoming consumed with what I couldn’t do, I was unable to see the difference I could make in the world. Instead, I did nothing. Instead, I became what consumed me.
When we become overwhelmed with the outrageous injustices in the world by our constant “clicking” (which we do innocently), we lose sight of all the good in the world (there is plenty!) and we lose sight of what we can do in the face of injustices. When we are consumed with guilt, overwhelm, rage, or apathy, we lose sight that we can make a difference and how. When we stop clicking on horror articles and thoughts, we can settle down, let the barrage clear, and connect with our innate wisdom. We can connect with the good, the true, and the beautiful which will buoy us. From that place, we can see what action is needed and how to take it. We may even find joy.
We can make a difference. Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” We could feed the one. We could feed the one. It makes a difference. It makes a difference to that one and it makes a difference to the world. If we could understand that we don’t have to save the world, then maybe we’d be free to feed the one. Imagine.
When we stop clicking on the stressful articles and stressful thoughts, our innate wellbeing and peace can surface again. From that place, we could change the world.
If you'd like to take the survey I mentioned at the beginning, you can find it here. Your answers give me ideas for writing meaningful blog posts and I would appreciate your time.
Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients move from anxiety and self-doubt to confidence and inspiration in their everyday lives.