Information overload

I have been meaning to write for a couple of weeks, but world events have left me too fragmented. So I thought writing on information overload might be good.

Because of the internet, 24-hour news channels, cell phones, etc. we now have instant access to news the minute it happens. That can be a good thing if it’s something we need to react to right away. However, most of the news isn’t good news. Being constantly barraged by bad news affects us in profound ways. We can become immune to the latest plea for help because of an earthquake, a flood, an uprising, freezing weather, whatever it is. We become fragmented, not knowing what to do or feeling so overwhelmed we do nothing. We become depressed, angry, irritable, and take that out on the first person who says something ‘wrong’.

Some people are ‘newshounds’ and feel totally out of touch if they don’t read several news sources every day. They think that they have to stay on top of what’s happening so they are prepared for… what? What’s the worst that can happen if we don’t read the news every day?

I have to admit I’m as guilty as the next person of reading news every day. I don’t read as much as I used to because it was affecting my life in negative ways. Now I just scan the headlines and read what interests me, which is often something to do with technology or medicine. I like to keep up with that, but I’ve been staying away from the other news that is so depressing and makes me angry; political posturing and rhetoric for example.

How about taking a news holiday? Whatever is going on in the world today isn’t going to change if we don’t read about it. This week’s news will be the same next week, next month, next year, with different players. What can it hurt to not pay attention? It might even make you feel better.

When things go wrong

We are human. When something goes wrong, it isn’t long before a whole series of things starts going wrong. Why? Much of it has to do with our mindset. It is so easy to berate ourselves for doing something wrong, and when we focus on what we did wrong, we start to think we can do nothing right. Once we start down that path, more and more things go awry. We get in the habit of doing the same things and expecting to not get it right. Before we know it, we have set ourselves up for failure before even beginning something because we believe we can’t do anything right. Sometimes we fail because we take to heart other peoples’ criticism of us; we give more weight to someone else’s opinions than we do our own. Living your life by someone else’s expectations won’t work. It is only a matter of time before we become unhappy and angry because we are not living the life we are meant to live.

It isn’t easy to break this cycle, but it can be done. We have to tell ourselves that others can’t possibly know us as well as we know ourselves. We have to tell ourselves that we are capable of getting it right. We have to tell ourselves that we are strong, and intelligent, and capable of great things, if we will just allow ourselves to ignore the naysayers. Some people take great delight in smashing dreams; ignore them – they are usually unhappy people who can’t bear to see others succeed. Don’t listen to them; listen to your heart. Let your heart overrule your head; listen to that still, small voice that tells you what you are capable of accomplishing.

We may not always succeed, but failure just tells us to try another way. Giving in to failure tells us we are not worthy. That little voice, our intuition, is almost always right. I have learned this the hard way. Whenever I have listened to that voice, things work out well; whenever I have ignored it, things didn’t work out so well. Too often we make decisions out of fear; those kinds of decisions aren’t good for us. Fear can be conquered by doing that which we fear the most.

Trust your instincts.

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The path not taken

Do you ever wonder what would have happened if you had made different choices in your life? I do. I think about what would have happened if I had married my first love; if I had not married the man I married; if I had turned left instead of right the night I got lost; who I would have met if I hadn’t taken that job where I met my current partner. It’s sometimes fun to think about or imagine what my life would have been like if I had made different choices.

I’m not unhappy with my life now, I just have a vivid and active imagination and enjoy thinking about different scenarios of what might have happened. I also think about what might have happened if my parents hadn’t moved around so much when I was growing up; if my ex and I hadn’t moved so much when my kids were growing up. Would I still be living in the town where I was raised? Would I have met and married someone else? Would I have kids? Grandkids? Who would they be instead of the kids and grandkids I have now?

I also think about the effects my choices have had on others as well as on me. If I hadn’t been paying attention when the driver in front of me braked for no reason; if I hadn’t been at the park the day the dog was lost; if I hadn’t seen the guy hitting his kid at the mall; what would have happened? I may never know what effect my choices have had; but I’m glad I’m where I am; that I have the friends I have; the family I have; the job I have; the life I have now.

Life is good.