It seems to me that right now we are living in a culture of fear. Much of the news we see is about how someone is going to take away something from somebody, freedom, money, safety, etc. Recent world events have only seemed to worsen this propensity.
I believe that this culture of fear is leaking into our daily lives more and more. I see people finding themselves constantly competing with others, ending up in a no-win cycle of trying to have or be enough. It perpetuates our already scary propensity for doing more rather than being. The culture of busy to me is an effect of the culture of fear. Fear drives us to constantly try to do more and be more. No wonder our country has such a high rate of anxiety and depression. It is hard to live a life where you never feel safe or good enough.
There are no easy answers here. We each have to find our own ways to happiness. Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me.
1. Don’t compete with others. You will never win and quite frankly you don’t even know what you are competing with. Few people show the depth of their pain when they are suffering. Lots of people look really good and together on the outside but the inside is very different.
2. Be kind to others. Whenever you can. Smile at people, compliment them, open the door, offer to carry groceries, there are so many ways to do this. It helps you and it helps them.
3. Limit your daily news intake. This amount may differ for each of us and change on any given day but don’t allow yourself to be sucked into more than you can tolerate.
4. You can make a difference so do it. Give to a veteran’s organization this holiday season, take a neighbor’s garbage out or plow their driveway. Small acts make a difference too. We can’t all win Nobel Prizes but we can all do what we can to make the world a better kinder place.
5. Don’t let yourself get mired in anger. I have struggled with this as I have seen some responses to world events recently. But on my best days I find my compassion and move on and on my worst days I try to keep it to myself and not perpetuate it.