Some of us decide not to watch cable news, or to even give up all social media, as our way of coping with the torrent of bad news that’s stressing us out at alarming rates.
Our systems are flooded with such outrage, horror, and shock, it’s no wonder people are freaking out. We wonder how “they” could do such things. We worry these crises will never end and wonder why we can’t stop it.
Some of us protest, donate, and march – even as some of our neighbors, friends, and family think nothing’s wrong; they support things that we think are just intolerable.
What is going on, America? What is going on, World?
Technology and communications have sped up, and we’re processing more incoming information than ever before.
The question is, what is the filter we’re processing that information with?
That filter will color our world and shape everything we see, hear and feel. It's time to spin the deeply ingrained triggers of fear and habits of survival, don't you think?
"Spin" is finding another way to look at something – a way that is truthful, authentic, and empowering ...FOR YOU.
Spin is not saying, “it’s ok.” It’s not saying, “put a ‘positive’ spin on it.” It’s not saying, “pretend,” and it’s not saying, “make something okay even if it’s not okay.”
It is not empowering to watch the news and feel helpless. Does that mean you shouldn’t feel helpless when you watch the news? No. You're going to have whatever feelings you feel.
Spin does not mean that anything should be different than how it is in that moment. It is what it is, in that moment, until you spin it differently.
So, the next time you feel yourself getting triggered by the news, take a moment and ask yourself, “How can I reposition my experience so I am empowered?”
Take a deep breath for a moment and try this on for size.
3 Ways to Get Empowered
1. Acknowledge this is happening – and get some perspective. The thing brought to your attention on TV or in a Facebook post may be happening, but remember too that things like this have happened before, and they're happening now in small and large ways to people and in places you aren’t even thinking about. Just because this story was presented to you doesn’t mean you have to be triggered by it. Things are happening whether you are aware of them or not. Being triggered isn’t helping anyone (least of all you) and it won’t save anyone.
2. Acknowledge your feelings – and ask if they’re helpful. Sure, you could be overwhelmed by your feelings, but that doesn’t help anyone, and you know what? It doesn’t help you, either. Many people are so worked up and worried by the state of the world, they’re losing sleep, they’re getting ill, they’re turning to pharmaceuticals, and obviously that’s not helping them, and it’s not helping the world. The people they want to help and the situations they want to change, they aren't helping anything by dwelling in all the bad energy and getting triggered by it, or crying over it (but go ahead and cry if you want to!).
3. Acknowledge your point of view – and play the long game. When we see something we don’t agree with, we naturally want to express that it’s not okay with us, and we probably want to change or fix it. Often, however, we don’t feel we can change things. I’m inviting you to let that duality go. This is not the same as saying the only other choice is to act like whatever it was doesn’t matter to you, or doesn’t exist, or isn’t happening. That is not the only other option.
Now, some people will say, “oh, that doesn’t change anything! You didn’t rescue anyone or fix anything.”
To which I say, maybe, but maybe not (or not that we can apparently see). In the space that opens up when you acknowledge the truth – what you see and hear, how you feel, and what you believe – something new just might emerge.
You might now be able to say something that empowers somebody who then influences somebody who does make something happen.
I know I’m not Wonder Woman, as much as I’d like to be. I’m not going to run around the world and personally unlock every door and solve every problem – but how I am being about it, and how I speak about it, that is something I can do, and that could influence someone who influences someone who influences someone who makes a difference (and so on, and so on, and so on).
That, my fellow spinners, is what you can do to get yourself on solid footing, to give yourself strength, and to make yourself feel good and connected to the good in others.
The art of spin should help you find your light, so you can share it out into the world in such a way that even if you are not the one to change things, somehow it will happen where things do change.
Diane Reed is a former media executive who now provides marketing orchestration for people who want to make the world a better place. She's currently writing a book, The Art of Spin.