It seems to be a fundamental truth. From war, natural disasters, crime, illness, and even to the seemingly lesser stresses like too many work hours and not enough pay, or time to live, the suffering can feel never-ending with the aid of social media and television.
However, it’s important to know what is going on in the world, as painful as it is. Even when you cannot do anything about it, and when it does not directly affect you, being aware of what is happening in the world helps you understand life and your place in it–your contribution.
Personally, I also believe in other philosophical and spiritual reasons for being “woke,” as they say, but that’s a much longer discussion.
Having said all that, we must take care of ourselves and being woke can come at a personal price. Sometimes the goings-on of the world simply cause too much extra stress.
I recently did what a lot of people threaten to do, but have a hard time accomplishing: I took a break from social media.
I left Facebook, Twitter, my website, and I refused to watch or read the news for nearly one month. I was stressed with some changes in my life, with money problems and work-related issues, and I realized that waking up and reading the news was only hurting me. It broke my heart over and over, and make my days even worse because I seemed unable to avoid internalizing it. So, I took a vacation from the rest of the world.
There is nothing wrong with taking a break from it–taking a break from the news, from social media drama, whatever its form.
You might ask, “But, wouldn’t it just be selfish to stop paying attention merely because it stresses you out?”
I argue that it’s not so simple.
We all want to do more that survive this life. We all want to really live–to find more than suffering. Some of us are lucky enough–are born or placed into the right circumstances to find it. Many are not.
There is no shame in being either person.
Should you completely close yourself off from the world permanently, and think only of yourself and your own happiness? No, of course not. There must be a healthy balance between your happiness and your concern for the world’s suffering.
Some people simply do not have that option. They can’t just turn off the news and let go because their lives are the news. They haven’t been given the option, and that’s horrifically unfair.
But, that doesn’t mean that it is wrong for you to choose.
I encourage you to try. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time. Try a day, or a week–as much as you think you can handle. Sometimes it is hard to let go, and some people’s jobs insist on the use of social media, which cannot be helped. If you can, however, give yourself a break.
You’re human–you deserve it.