Brad Waters, Guest Writer
The Colorado theater shooting, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, drought and wildfires– if you watch or read the news things might seem pretty bleak. But whenever we hear ourselves making blanket statements like, “What is the world coming to?” or “Everything’s going to hell!” we can look to these words spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize of 1964:
“I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.
This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.”1
When you see the news of the day and start to feel anxious or afraid about the mortar bursts and whining bullets, let those bullets be a trigger to remember these 6 steps:
- Turn off the news.
- Remember that “bad news” has been spread since the dawn of human communication; yet we’re still here– still caring, still loving, still innovating, still believing we can be better. Bad news hurts in the moment and in its aftermath, but it does not stop us– the Earth and its people are strong, resilient, and forward moving.
- Remember that power is greater than force2. Power is positive, boundless, and forward moving. Force is negative, fueled by fear, and loses it’s strength after a short burst.
- Recall the hope and faith of power-full people like MLK Jr.
- Connect with people– the warmth of human connection disarms hate and strengthens compassion.
- Turn off the news– if you missed step #1– because contrary to popular myth, watching the nightly news does not make for a well-rounded or accurately informed public.
Examples of power = the sun, Gandhi, the Olympics, tree roots breaking through a concrete sidewalk, the magnificent forest regrowth after a wildfire.
Examples of force = gun shots, terrorist activity, human attempts to concrete, corral, and scorch the Earth.
About the Author
Brad Waters, L.C.S.W. takes an integrative strengths-based approach to well-being and life strategy. His phone-based one-on-one personal development consulting helps people who are lacking confidence, feeling stuck, or are unsure of their path forward find a sense of energy and direction. Additionally, he is a licensed clinical social worker, freelance writer and blogger. Visit his website howaboutcake.com to download his free mindfulness ebook “Everyday Mindfulness” and sign up for his newsletter.