Every day we're inundated with bad news. It's hard to feel hopeful when the world feels like it's going backward. The never-ending politics of the day, a global pandemic, and having a pet ferret is still illegal in California. What gives? How do we find solace and continue to see the good in all of us? It's simple; we keep our focus on finding the positive and helping each other find it as well. I know this works because my friend Dawn proved it. I received in the mail a few weeks ago an envelope full of newspaper articles written by Sean Dietrich. Dawn included a note: "Just a little 'feel good' when you're a little down."
Before reading any of the clippings, I felt wonderful that someone thought of me. This simple gesture made a huge difference in lifting my mood and self-esteem. As I read these short essays describing small slices of life, I couldn't help but smile. It reminded me to pay attention and take note of my actions. For example, when someone I haven't spoken to in a while pops into my head, I'll send a message or call them on the phone. I try to be aware of the people around me and hold the door open or pick up the metro card they dropped and hand it to them. It's nothing earth-shattering, but I believe it reminds us that we're all connected, and a kind gesture reassures us of that.
I know there'll be days that I'll feel like I'm in quicksand, and nothing I do or say comes out right. My imagination of worst-case scenarios wants to take hold, and the black void of nothingness is staring at me. I quickly conjure up past regrets and know I'll be in for a night of staring at the ceiling, waiting for it to fall on my head. I'm sure I'm the only person who does this. But, I've learned to embrace the fear and talk to it to keep the darkness from consuming me. Talking out loud gives a voice to what's inside my head, and then I can make fun of it. I have no problem telling myself how ridiculous I sound and egotistical I must be to think I'm supposed to be perfect all the time.
We forgive our loved ones easily for any trespasses, but we have a difficult time absolving ourselves. That's why it's important to recognize when we're going through a tough time to let others in to help. I've learned to take action when I start to feel the weight of tragic news piling up. I take a moment and look for stories full of hope and good fortune. I'll also take a fun trip down memory lane by looking at photos of great times with family and friends. Finally, I'll write another letter urging my congressperson to legalize ferrets as pets. What's better than a soft, furry friend that makes you laugh just looking at it?