How to stay positive when the headlines are not

 

peace

Another day, another disturbing, terrifying, confounding, incomprehensible headline.

I know I am not the only one who wakes up nowadays with a slight unease about what’s going to confront me when I turn on the tv, log onto social media or spy a newspaper at my local cafe.

And today with the latest terrorist attacks in France and Beirut leaving (at time of publish) 190 innocent humans dead? Well, today’s headlines certainly lived up to the hype.

My feed has already begun to fill with stories of terror, blood-stained images and hate-filled “bomb ‘em all” cries for retaliation. Even as a positive person it can be really hard to believe that the world is anything but a big, scary place doomed to rubble.

Because how can we keep on believing that love will win, that kindness is king and that we can heal the world when we are given such compelling evidence to the contrary?  

There is only one answer… we need to look where it is good.

Alice Herz-Sommer was a concentration camp survivor, accomplished pianist and author up until her death in 2014 at 110 years old. When she was 42 her entire family was rounded up and killed by the Nazi’s and she was only spared (along with her son) because of her musical gift. They slept on a cold hard floors for many years with the knowledge that if her captors weren’t impressed by her performances that they would both be exterminated that day.

Yet – in this strongly recommended interview with Tony Robbins – she describes herself in that time as “always laughing”. How is that possible? I’m just reading about the tragedy in France and I am crying – how could this women have been laughing through so much loss?

She simply explained “I look where it is good. I know about the bad thing, but I look at the good thing”. She had hope in humanity and for it too.

Like Alice we need to look where it is good. It’s all we have.

alice

As the attacks are developing in Paris the hashtag #portouverte (translated to Open Door) has gone viral. Parisians have been offering shelter and safety to anyone stranded in the French capital. Taxi drivers have been reported to have turned off their metres and are driving people home free of charge.

Closer to home in Sydney when the Martin Place attack occurred the hashtag #illridewithyou took off. At a time when others were vowing revenge on an entire community due to the actions of one fundamentalist, other Australians chose to show solidarity for the Muslim population (who were nervous of travelling home in their religious attire) and chaperone them.

What would the world be if Malala Yousefzai had chosen to only look at the hateful eyes of the Taliban that had attempted to murder her for demanding education for women, and not to the women that saw hope in her? The women that are now educated, emancipated and empowered because of her.

When we look to the good we are able to move forward and rise above.

For the detractors and the cynics, the ones that feel this is a little too soft – I am not naive. A smile is not a bulletproof vest. Finding light in the dark doesn’t make the dark any less terrifying. Focusing on the good will not bring back the dead. It will maybe not bring much comfort to those that are mourning the gaping holes in their lives.  It will not wipe the dark ink stains from our history. It won’t prevent these attacks from ever happening again.

I am not offering a solution to a problem so big that it makes my head spin. I don’t know who is right or wrong, if we should be at war or not or what needs to happen to feel safe on planes, trains or at sporting grounds again. I will leave that up to those that are far savvier on those subjects than I.

I am simply deciding to take back the immense power of my own kindness, hope and humanity. To feel an element of control in a world where there seem to be some crazies at the wheel. To choose love over hate.

I will continue to look where it is good; so I can always have hope that the world will get better and have the energy to fight to make it so.

I choose to believe that we can heal the world.

 

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