Let's All Stop Talking About How Badly Things Suck For Us
We are perpetuating our own cycles of depression when we constantly repeat stories to each other about how much everything sucks, and we really need to stop this in order to feel better.
I say this because I feel that now, more than ever, the conversations I hear amongst the people I surround myself with (and online) are heavily focused on all the ways things aren’t going right, or how far away things are from the way they ought to be. It’s obviously true when looking at a large, global scale, and with the state of our world, I understand why. Yet, I feel that it is also true when we’re talking about our more personal, individual lives. Of course, I understand that the two are related; when we read disturbing headlines on the news, or even worse, actually witness awful events either first-hand or through video footage, the natural emotions that arise from seeing it are then carried within us and can reflect our day-to-day lives. Usually these same stories are the topics of discussion in conversations, and are repeatedly brought up with various amounts of detail being added throughout the day. When I see disturbing videos circulating online, I always think about how it must affect the thousand-some-odd-people who’ve watched them. And it’s especially true with documentation of police brutality against our own. I reflect on what it must feel like to have seen a horrific incident and then simply return to your office for another regular work day or prepare to go to class and learn, while still in a triggered state, without processing the complex emotions and the time to grieve what was just seen. I, myself, have been in those situations more times than I can count.
We can all attest that these are, indeed, depressing times. With everything we hear and read about regarding the social, environmental, and political climate of our world, it can really get you down. Honestly, I’ve had to consciously start consuming news media in very small doses, because of the affect it was having on my mental health. But, even that is nearly impossible when social media and news outlets are all using the same platforms now, anyway. I want to add that it is still is very important to know about what is happening in our world. I am, in now way, promoting us to turn a blind eye in order to maintain our own comfort. That being said, I believe it is not so much about seeing these negative stories (although news outlets could definitely tone down their overrepresentation of violence), but more so the discourse we engage in with one another that only further contributes to our depressive states and emotions.
When we choose to continuously spread information about the terrible incidents in our world, we are slowly programming our brains to constantly be prepared to receive terrible news, and that’s not healthy. We’re always expecting the next bad thing to happen; by doing that our minds and bodies start to perceive our surroundings as a threat, and react to that. Most of us are in ‘flight or fight’ mode more often than necessary; even in the absence of a threat. When our brains perceive something as a threat, it leads to stress hormones being released and our minds are put under an immense amount of pressure in order to survive. When our brains distressed, our bodies react. It could be in the form of sweaty palms, or an elevated heart rate, or we may suddenly notice a lump in our throat when trying to speak. These reactions happen to me all the time, almost daily, but it shouldn’t. Our bodies are anticipating to fight whatever is causing us stress, or run away from it, when it doesn’t need to. Once the anxious symptoms have passed, and our brains process that whatever it was, wasn’t actually so threatening, our bodies may return to a relaxed state, but our minds are still left with high levels of stress, and that can go on to affect our lives in so many ways.
The same applies for the conversations we have about our personal lives. I think our choice of words when explaining or describing life events to friends and family carries more weight than we think. Language plays a huge role in determining how we will feel about a certain thing; in the same way our thoughts can shape our realities, so can the things we say. So, when simply recounting all the ways that your life sucks or all awful the things that have happened to you when you’re catching up with a friend, that level of low vibrational frequency – or in simpler terms, negative energy – will determine how we are able to deal with our problems.
I know we need support when things get hard, we are social beings and sharing problems with a loved one can be really helpful. So, by all means, have that person. Designate a different person in your life to talk with about different issues based on what they have to offer and the relationship you two share. It could be based on what you hope to receive from that conversation; for example, validation – which is important, because we all want our feelings to be understood. You could maybe designate another person in your life to talk to when you need unique perspective on a situation that may help you find a solution. Another friend could be the one you turn to when you need someone to give it to you straight and tell you when you’re in the wrong – the friend that will humble you and keep you grounded. These are just a few solution-based mechanisms that have worked for me and helped me refrain from basking in my own sadness and anger.
If it exhausts you talk about, don’t talk about it. After my surfing accident, I felt energetically drained after repeating the story to various family members and friends, to the point where I just had to stop talking about it completely – for my own ability to recover. I needed to tell myself another story. I needed to change my perspective and I couldn’t do that while feeling sorry for myself. It would only leave me feeling defeated and helpless again – even when I knew that wasn’t true. I couldn’t help feeling that way, because that was the type of energy exchange I was having; I was circulating within a low vibrational frequency. I can attest that it does takes some effort to bring oneself out of that, so I made it a point to stay in a high vibrational frequency as often as I could, in all of the ways I could control, until it became my norm. Now, I’m able to realize when I’m operating in a low vibrational frequency – it shows in the form of the thoughts I have, the way I’m feeling and, most importantly, the way I react to situations. Patience has always been an area of work for me, so whenever I start feeling impatient, I know that means I need to raise my vibration. When I start to sense it, I tell myself that although it feels like everything around me isn’t moving fast enough, it actually means that I need to slow things down. I use it as a reminder to live in the present, and not in the future.
The next time you call up your friend, start off by telling them something great that happened to you. Let that set the tone for your conversations, and share more of the good. We shouldn’t feel afraid that by talking about the good things in our lives, we’re being insensitive to other people’s problems or coming across as rubbing it in. In fact, I think it does the opposite. You may be opening their eyes to new ways that their life could improve, too. You would be shining your light in their direction, and maybe it’s been a long time since they’ve had that. I understand it’s natural to compare ourselves to one another. One might start to wonder, “Why are good things happening for them and not me?” If that does happen when sharing good news, take it as an opportunity to uncover blockage areas in your friend’s life that they may be unaware of. You can help them find the answers. In paraphrasing the divine words of Maryam Hasnaa, don’t ever feel that you have to reduce yourself to another person’s level in order to relate to them, stay exactly where you are, and instead, invite them to join you by elevating them.