Something happened to me this morning and I can't stop thinking about it. I saw something on social media, Facebook, and I was so troubled by what I read; so disheartened by the words of a few people, that I lashed out at a whole town. A town that I call home. A town full of people that I love. A town that is reeling and hurting. I denied my hometown and I am ashamed. I worry that I offended people and I am sorry. I let a few haters color my perspective, change my mood and affect my behavior; and for that I am deeply troubled.
I've been thinking about the nature of negativity and anger. We seem to be an angry people these days. We are quick to offend and easily offended. We watch our leaders attack each other verbally, and we tune into news broadcasts which seem to thrive on keeping us angry.
I read an article a while ago titled, "I Lost My Father To Fox News." The writer claimed that his father, a once reasonable man, had spent so many hours listening to the rhetoric of hate and anger spewed by Fox News that he had turned into an angry, frustrated man with whom it was impossible to have a logical, reasonable conversation. If you know me very well, you know how I feel about Fox News, so you can imagine how tickled I was with that story. I quoted it and used it as ammunition against the faux news channel. But, this morning as I sat in my bed watching CNN and finding myself filled with righteous indignation over some teaser story or other, I realized that it's not just Fox News...it's all of them. Some are more blatant and obvious about it, but it does in fact seem that the media thrives on keeping us angry.
Today I watch as the newscasters debate some story of social significance, taking different sides and actually yelling and getting worked up to make their respective points. They bring in experts who speak in circles and try to sound smarter than the other expert, they argue their points, they make sarcastic comments to and about each other and anyone who doesn't agree with them. I watch the anchor actually pound his fist on the desk to emphasize how angry he is about the subject at hand.
With the report of the fist banging still echoing, the same anchor turns his body slightly to look into another camera, the angry grimace melting magically into an ingratiating smile as he announces, "Up next - Do you like dark or milk chocolate and what does that say about your personality? We'll be back after the break," and the camera pans out as that same group of newscasters, so adamant just moments ago, now debate what kind of chocolate they prefer. No wonder we are angry.
It's troubling to me how quickly people are to jump on social media to spread some message that is sure to offend or even incite, without even checking the facts. People share and spread memes, blogs and articles without verifying the sources or confirming the truth. Why are folks so quick to jump on the anger band wagon? Why does it seem we are looking for a reason to get mad? Why do our news media engines feel the need to feed and fan the fires of that anger? Who benefits from so much anger?
Maybe it's time to try something different. Instead of letting them get us worked up, turn them off, tune them out, and turn up the love. Turn up positive thoughts and good deeds. Make only positive posts and loving comments on social media. Turn off the violent television shows and movies. Turn on loving conversation with family and friends. Turn off gossip. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. The greatest thing in this world is to love and be loved in return. Give and receive so much love that there is no room in your heart or your world for anger or hate.
I am making a vow right now to think more positive thoughts and kick out negativity and anger.
Won't you join me? Let's all work together to bring more love, light, joy and peace into the world.
Turn off anger, turn on love.
What are your thoughts on stopping negativity and spreading more love in the world?