Nuggets of Hope: Navigating a Toxic News Cycle
Written by Katie Regan
I’ve always been a public crier. I’m not talking town crier, running around yelling, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” More like, I cry in public. And I hate it. If something overwhelms me, the tears come streaming. And forget it, once they start, they don’t stop. It has long been my least favorite thing about myself, because it can be so embarrassing and emasculating. At a funeral or wedding for someone I hardly know? Yup. Feeling vulnerable and exposed in front of a colleague, or worse, a superior? Sure. How about standing in front of a classroom of 30+ 14 year olds? Unfortunately, yes.
There was a certain date in November a couple of years ago, however, when I wore my splotchy, tear-streaked face to work as a badge of honor. I worked with the public then, and I carried my swollen face proudly, conveying what I wasn’t able to actually say as a public servant.
Since then, the news has certainly seen it’s fair share of ups and downs. With the 24-hour news cycle and the media’s proclivity for sharing the doom and gloom (ratings, people!), it can seem that everything is falling to shit all around us (well, it is, to a certain extent...but, there’s hope!).
When we are constantly barraged with images and clips of our leaders acting as criminals, kids getting shot, increased incidents of rampant bigotry, or yet another public figure being exposed as an abuser, it can be easy to internalize this and start to lose hope. Furthermore, that sense of defeat can spread to other areas of your life. Pessimism is wildly contagious.
Self-care is incredibly multi-faceted, and just as we may monitor what we put into our body by way of food or drink, we should also monitor what we let seep in through our eyeballs and ear holes.
Train yourself to look for the good; to see it, to internalize it. It’s there. As it is with any swing of the pendulum, it must inevitably swing back.
For every white male who rises to a position of power despite a history of abuse and an ill-fitting temperament, there is an unbelievably strong woman willing to go to bat for what’s right (and even more women and allies willing to stand behind her).
For every senseless, easily avoidable tragedy perpetuated by the morally corrupt, there is a group of teenagers willing to rise from the ashes and say, “Enough is enough, we will be voters soon.” Teenagers who, defying stereotypes, somehow manage to make adults sit up and pay attention.
For every stodgy old man who is more concerned about what’s in his pocket than the needs of the people he works for, there is a gaggle of minorities, women, and LGBTQ warriors who feel motivated to step up and make a real change. Almost more inspiring are the masses of people coming out in support of these true mavericks. They’re there, and they’re growing.
Yes, it is incredibly easy to get bogged down by the images that are catapulted into our brains everyday, by the news, by entertainment personalities, or by our own friends and acquaintances. We must take note of the way what we are consuming is making us feel and shut it down if need be. It can be helpful to remember that the news used to be comprised of one newspaper in the morning and a one-hour news show at night. I, for one, try my damnedest to stick to that prescription.
Almost more importantly, we can do our best to help contribute to the dissemination of hope, to share the inspiring stories instead of the shocking. These days, we live in a largely click-based world, and it can be easy to forget what hunting for those clicks is costing us as a society.
If I have learned anything over the past couple of years, both from myself and from the state of the world, sometimes it takes hitting absolute rock bottom in order to gain the confidence and drive to soar. Keep an eye out for those using the embers from a garbage fire as kindling for their own raging bonfires. They are there, and they want you to join them.
Katie Regan is a huge proponent of failing upward who appreciates quick service and a solid breakfast sandwich. When things weren’t going as planned in her recent home of Denver, Katie decided to cut ties with her physical belongings and set out to travel the world and focus on her writing. 9 months and 8 countries later, she finds herself about to settle in LA and is very excited for this new adventure in risk and reward. When she’s not writing or editing for clients, Katie is nurturing the babies born in her idea factory, singing karaoke, and trying to scheme on how to keep up with skiing while living in SoCal. Keep up with her adventures on Insta (@ktsnothere) or Twitter (@katiesnothere).