Gather in kiddies, confession time. Shh, don’t tell a soul. But I don’t watch the news. Not ever. Don’t listen to it. Don’t read it if I can get away with it. Sure, there was a time. As a stay at home mother, I desperately read it as an anchor to the world outside. And hey, I have the fondest memories of watching BTN (Behind the News, and yes it still exists) at school and hurriedly rushing to create the gosh-darndest best summary I could muster in my schoolbook.
I feel each and every story in my gut and my heart, a physical thudding that that renders me incapable of functioning. Sure it doesn’t last long, but the emotions, the human (and even the animal) emotions of victims stay with me, at times taking over me to the point that I can’t even recognise these feelings as not belonging to me. (The joys of being empathic- but thats another post).
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not insulated and ignorant, I am fervently interested in politics and what’s going on around me. But as a big-hearted sensitive, there’s no way I can make it through a news section without my heartbreaking and waves of helplessness washing over me. I wish it were different, but if I’m to function and be of use to this world, I need to avoid the news.
So I do it my way. Twitter is fabulous, far more current than mainstream media, but sadly not always accurate, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. At a local level, there’s no better way to discover what’s happening in the world around you. There are times that even this can be too much though and I’ll switch social media off to regain my balance. The name and shame that people share with no thought on Facebook distresses me no end. To me, they break the natural laws of justice- you know- innocent until proven guilty. They aren’t even verified as true before they are shared. People just mindlessly share them as that they intrude on to your timeline.
Online newspapers can be good. I can read the headlines, get the general story, and dip in when I’m more comfortable. This lets me control what I do take in. Sadly, even online these days can be too much- with the clickbaity headlines, attention grabbing photos and the comments. Oh, the comments! I often joke comments need to come with a public health service warning.
Honestly, sometimes the news can me feel so heartsick. Of course, I know that these are important stories to tell. They have their place. Perhaps I just need to go back to my regular viewing of BTN. I’m up for a coloured pencil masterpiece summary of the news.
So what about you, my dears? Are you a big-hearted sensitive? Immune to the news, or deeply affected? How do you control what news you take in? Share with me in the comments below!
Cherry on top: In some kind of synchronous coincidence, Alain De Botton has just published a users guide to the news through Penguin Books. If you are considering the impact that news has on you here’s some further thoughts from Alain De Botton and Planning with kids (including a different interview with Alain De Botton)