United in Division

I don’t think there’s ever been a year where I’ve seen as much negativity and tragedy as I’ve seen this year. It’s everywhere TV, the news, social media, everywhere you turn to it’s a constant stream of suffering. That much negativity and bad news can be harmful to one’s mental health and overall wellbeing.

This year more than most I’ve seen a lot of division between people. I understand that some opinions say that it’s always been here and it’s always been this gross and severe. But I think that social media and this new age form of journalism where pretty much anyone with a phone can report and speak their mind online is a big reason as to why we are constantly exposed to suffering. I’m not speaking on this to disparage keeping up to date with current events or to promote ignorance but taking a break from all this negativity can be a good thing.

We’ve all seen or at least read the titles of reports and articles on mental health during COVID. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, worry and stress has increased throughout all age groups due to circumstances relating to COVID. In combination with peaking unemployment, the upcoming election, and a rising outcry for social justice, we are constantly being dissected and put back together. Unfortunately, instead of being able to use this time to grow and come together in solidarity as one group going through a global pandemic we have grown further apart.

To keep myself together these past few months, I’ve taken time and focused on what it is to meditate and be with myself and my surroundings. I take deep breaths more often than not and it helps. There are a lot of apps out there that can help with this kind of thing, but the one I use is Headspace. Apart from that, I’ve also tried to lessen my time on social media and screen time in general. It does help; especially when social media is plagued with constant arguing and bad news. I dislike opening up Twitter and seeing a battlefield.

There are no more discussions to be had or opinions to be shared. I think that personal opinions right now are difficult to maintain and even share. In regard to political views and stances, free thinkers and neutral statements are no longer allowed. Teams have formed and if you’re not with one side or the other you’re against them both. It’s not acceptable anymore to have mixed beliefs or agree with one point but not another. Facts are disregarded when presented to the opposing side. If the majority discredits you and what you believe then nothing you say or do can change that, even if what you say is true. People today no longer are open to different ways of thinking, they are devoted believers of their own truth and there is no changing that.

I dislike that about today’s social media. If your opinion is far removed from the general consensus you are discredited, spoken bad about, and even cancelled. Sometimes you don’t even have to speak on a subject for people to be upset, silence is enough to rile hatred or disgust. The expectations that people hold don’t always match reality. Everyone has their own perceptions and beliefs. You cannot expect people today to use their brain to make decisions or change their beliefs. Emotions rule, logic is thrown out the window along with numbers and facts.

Becoming upset over an opposing opinion is not fair. It could be blatantly wrong and that’s okay. What is there to do? Is it on me or even on you to try and fix them? I don’t think so. They come from different places, they have their own perceptions of the world, we are people raised and brought up with different beliefs and traditions. I think that there is something that can be done, but not through confrontation. For opinions to change the opposer has to make the conscious choice to listen and be open to making that change in perception.

For example, if I am a proponent of a cause and I support it and advocate for it and I truly believe that it’s right and necessary for others to think the same as me, I might go out and spread my truth. I might make Instagram posts or share tweets and that’s okay, I agree with those kinds of actions. However, it’s unfair for me and for you to expect anything to come from that. Someone’s whole opinion on a subject cannot be transformed with something as small as an Instagram story. Every individual has their own beliefs and worldview. Expecting them, or members of a group, or even your own friends and family to see and believe the same thing you do is an unreal expectation.

I do believe that speaking out on issues is right and calls to action do have some sort of positive results. However, they have to be done at their time and place with ultimate precision, because a single crack can topple what you are attempting to do. Even then, that still doesn’t guarantee a victory. People don’t like to hear that they are wrong, or what they believe is incorrect. When they do hear that they tighten their grip on what they know and believe, and ignore or discredit any sort of argument; especially with how often people resort to shaming or directly attacking their opponents nowadays.

To see what I’m talking about all you have to do is click on Twitter threads of news articles or Tweets that relate to the election or social justice issues. There is constant arguing with neither side taking a win. I cannot believe that people take the time to argue on a social platform like Twitter. Complete strangers fight and belittle each other without ever meeting before or knowing each other’s story. It’s attack after attack. These people hold public debates, they present facts and articles, to an opponent that doesn’t care about what they have to say. These types of people inhibit real progress. Instead of focusing on what they can do in their own community, their own house, their own family, they fight for what’s not even theirs.

This mental warfare that people wage with themselves and others takes a toll on the body and mind. Being surrounded by so much negativity and bad news is unhealthy and does require release and escape. Without these gaps in coverage it’s enough to make someone go crazy.

I don’t know if I’m speaking out of turn here. So if you disagree or have any comments let me know. This is just the way I see it. People are divided and it’s amplified because of the horrible situation it seems like the world is in. Like I said before, this is the time to be united, not divided. We should be open and welcoming to everybody as we continue through what seems like the apocalypse.