Tending to Ourselves Takes Courage

March 25, 2011

Photo by cmch.com

The News by cmch.tv

We are a news-obsessed nation.  Whether it’s CNN, CNBC, or C-SPAN, we want to access what’s going on at home and abroad in a flash.  If it’s big news we get riveted listening to and watching the play-by-play unfolding of events.  We spend precious amounts of time and energy feeling bad for others.  We worry.  We commiserate with friends and colleagues about their plight.   Aside from sending money or actively volunteering, which only a fraction of us do, we let ourselves be distracted by events we are helpless to do anything about. 

Tending to Ourselves

What if we were to spend more of that time and energy tending to ourselves? 

Some will quickly say this is selfish.  Let’s honestly answer the question—How much are we helping victims of any kind by re-living their pain?  Perhaps the best response we can offer is to stop a moment and visualize them happy and healed, knowing that they will recover and grow stronger from whatever they have endured.  Thinking positive thoughts, or praying, for these victims, even when their situation looks bleakest, is one of the best ways we can help them. 

Avoidance

In the meantime, are we avoiding our own situation? 

Photo by cpf-org-ar

There’s a chance we are.  I teach a class called “Consciously Clearing Clutter.”  At the end of the third session, I ask participants to forego one week of morning and evening news, barring a national disaster like 9/11.  Some participants reject the assignment outright.  “Don’t be ridiculous,” they say.  Others attempt it and return to old patterns within a few days.  Several return to class angry that I would offer such an assignment. 

What is that anger all about?  I suspect it’s a cover for fear.  It can be scary making a conscious decision to avoid hearing or seeing the news.  After all, we might miss something.  By not looking outside ourselves, we may have to resort to looking within, and we may not like what we see or feel. 

Courage

It takes courage to look within.  We might start asking ourselves some tough questions:  Why am I not achieving the goals I’ve set for myself?  Why am I unhappy in my marriage?  Why can’t I be promoted at work?  More often than not, we don’t ask ourselves these questions because of the courage it requires.  Our obsession with the news becomes a form of mental and emotional clutter—a foil for our own lives.

Photo by lovingministry.net

One of the best ways we can help victims of any kind is to tend to ourselves.  This is not an easy task but an essential one.  If we find we are not happy about a certain aspect of our life, then it may be time to tend to that pain, rather than the pain of others.  By taking responsibility for the choices we make, which may include exploring why we make those choices, we create a happier, healthier world.

Bev Hitchins © 2011

2 Responses to “Tending to Ourselves Takes Courage”


  1. So right on Bev. Every time I read your wise words I am pushed to do something better. Keep them coming. Thanks you for your constant nudge and hug.


  2. Great message! No matter how many times I hear this, I am grateful to be reminded. It is so easy to be pulling into tending to the outer world’s considerabel needs. Thanks for speaking your truth!


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