We Can Each Make A Difference

We’re being flooded with negativity. Every day, it seems, there’s something newly horrific, upsetting, depressing, embarrassing, or just wrong that comes across our news feeds or in our personal communications.

I think it’s having a deeper impact on our collective well-being than most people realize.

That was brought home to me again this morning when I received the following in response to one of my mailings:

Thank you for the link to the good stories. I’ve been feeling more depressed than usual lately, and the smile and tears today helped improve my mood. With all the bad and discouraging news that fills the airwaves and online, it is good to be reminded that the good does outweigh the bad and garbage.

I’ve said for a long time that most news is news precisely because it’s unusual. It’s the exception, not the rule. Yet when faced with a constant stream of negativity, it’s all too easy to start to feel just the opposite — to “normalize” what we read and hear.

A constant diet of negative news is bad for you. It can “…exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
Not All News Is Bad, “About” page

But it’s not normal. Not only should we not accept it as normal, we also need to realize that all this negativity we hear is far, far outweighed in everyday life by the common and the good we don’t see — the common and the good that really is normal.

There’s an antidote, and the commenter above nails it: “… it is good to be reminded that the good does outweigh the bad and garbage.”

That’s why I started supporting HeroicStories many years ago, and took the project on as its publisher in 2014. Twice weekly original stories reminding us that people are good and that individuals, and individual actions, matter.

That’s why I started “Not All News Is Bad” earlier this year — daily links to a variety of more positive stories. News of humanity making progress. News of people doing good. Stories to inspire and give hope.

That’s why I support projects like “The Daily Corgi.” Yes, I’m a fan of the breed, but more to the point, each day TDC shares something lighthearted, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It reminds you for a moment that there are many, many good things going on, things to give us joy if we’d only just look at them for a moment. Sometimes they’re right at our feet.

You can help, too.

Yes, it helps that I’m an internet publisher, among other things, but you don’t have to be one to make a difference. I’m just using the tools I have available in a way that makes sense for me.

You can do the same.

  • Start sharing some good news with your friends, instead of continually debating the current state of affairs.
  • Read something other than news. Perhaps even step away from it for a while.
  • Volunteer.
  • Don’t correct someone who’s wrong on the internet. (Bonus points: compliment them instead. 🙂 )
  • Support organizations that make the world a more positive place — by whatever definition you choose. Do so in whatever way you choose. It doesn’t have to be financial, though that’s often the most effective.
  • Support people that need it. Donate to a GoFundMe that comes across your radar, or consider something like micro-lending at Kiva.org.

Basically, use the resources you have to take action that makes your world, and the world of the people around you, a more positive place.

Make a difference.

To be clear, I’m not saying that the current state of the world isn’t important — it is. And I’m not saying we should completely ignore what’s going on around us — we shouldn’t.

What I’m saying is that in our focus on those things, it’s easy to lose sight of all that remains good and true and honest around us. The difference we can all make is to notice those things and balance the actions we take so we’re not guilty of simply spreading more negativity.

We can all, in our own small ways, make the world a better place.

5 thoughts on “We Can Each Make A Difference”

  1. >> We Can Each Make A Difference <<

    Yes, and perhaps even more appropriately, we each DO make a difference, whether we choose to engage in ways that are beneficial or harmful, and even if we choose to disengage. No matter what we do, we are affecting ourselves as well as others.

  2. Yes, I do agree as well with Benoff…sometimes we don’t have to do anything at all..in fact sometimes that is actually better..as THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS…so think good ones, based in reality, and miraculously eventually manifest. The brain waves of thoughts create an electro magnetic output..and connect with the output of others minds causing “things” of “like” to occur, When a book is written, a play produced.. where do the characters come from..they seem to develop a life of their own….Much wisdom surfaces by way of the imagination that is vital, fertile, playful and even dark…making a difference to each of us as we turn the pages, become invested in their lives between the book covers..often in dismay when we reach The End of the Story..but due to the talent, will, and energy of so many, we literally have millions of books in which to get lost..only to find ourselves refreshed and even renewed, as we exit these paper lives…never will I get lost in the labyrinth of the mind..just too much to read, reread, savour and grow my spirit..thousands of authors have made a great deal of difference to my spirit..through all of my ups and downs..there is always a book..a story..to extract wisdom, hope, joy and beauty…even in braille if no other way..the imagination is indeed to me..”another world” off planet..and Leo makes a huge difference with his offerings as well..

  3. Thank you, Leo, for today’s message of encouragement. It’s hard to know what to do when it feels like your emotions are controlled by things out of your control. So we all do what we can and keep moving forward, chin up. Thank you for your column and your advice and I was also so heartened to hear your viewpoint and proactive approach to the world today. You’re the best and we all appreciated you.

  4. I was that other sad person. I’ve learnt to laugh a lot now but still have emotional moments of coarse. We all do! News reading to keep up with things but remember there is a comic section. Wear clothing ie. a Micky Mouse tee shirt. All ages love cartoon characters. Love how kids smile at Micky Mouse! The world is so full of NOICE now. Find a quiet place people. Remember you are unique and perfect in gods eyes. Cheers! SMILE!

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