How much news can we take?

How much news can we take?

As the end of the year draws to a close, and we enter the festive season, I am struck by the tragedies in people’s lives and I wonder how many can even begin to think about being festive. Then I am further struck by the amazing capacity of individuals to endure heartbreak, and their courage in the way they continue on.

The festive season seems to highlight the loss of our loved ones. This is the time when families celebrate their unity with everyone coming together. It is also the time of noticing the harsh reality of those in the family who are missing because they have passed on. The tragedy that the family has endured often becomes more pronounced at this time.

As if dealing with personal loss is not difficult enough, it can be made even more difficult when it is compounded by other tragedies that confront us on a daily basis, either through news streams or personal connections. There is no avoiding this, as we live in a community that seems to keep presenting us with sad and tragic stories.

I have been blown away in recent days by the amount of shattering news that has come to my attention, some of which include: “My baby didn’t make it”; “Her mother was murdered”; “The young children were kidnapped”; “Dad was an alcoholic and was often violent”; “The family drowned in the flood”; “My friend was beaten and died”. More than likely, we have all heard quite a number of these devastating yet real stories affecting people in our own community. Then we hear the further shocking news stories from afar: of lives lost and devastation in the Philippines; the conflict situations in Syria and other parts of the world; the loss of people at sea as they seek asylum.

Our on-the-spot news reporting of global events through modern technology means that we are exposed to not only our own family tragedies, but we are continually fed stories of disaster and misfortune in overwhelming proportions.

candlesIn dealing with personal loss, it is important to keep perspective and to keep the focus on your particular situation. If you are drawn into all of the tragedy around you, it may have the effect of overwhelming you and throwing you off balance. It is wise to set some boundaries around how much news you are receiving and ensure that you engage in some daily relaxation and activities that give you enjoyment.  It is also beneficial to spend time in the company of people who affirm and uplift you. It is most important to be gentle with yourselves.

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