We have access to a flood of information and we can beam it into our eyes all day long. It seems like most of that information is negative and it is so easy to get overwhelmed by it. I had a long-time client come in last week, who was feeling the negativity and kept asking how are we going to get through this?
During periods of time like this, we can get so caught up in the big picture and feeling like we can’t have an impact on the major world events that we become paralyzed. The problems of climate change, or the refugee crisis, world hunger, or mass shootings are so vast, it is hard to know where to start or how we can have an impact. The biggest problem with this is that we may get so overwhelmed that we stop taking care of ourselves, our friends, and our family.
Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun and missionary who spent most of her life helping people in India, said:
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.
As a woman who cared for and helped millions, she knew exactly what she was talking about.
When I think about these big problems in the world, I think of the question “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer: One bite at a time, which is exactly how we heal the planet as well. When we think about these problems, we need to just take one bite at a time.
But how do you decide which bite to start with? The tail? The trunk? A leg? As Mother Teresa advises, start with the person closest to you. That might be you! What do you need? How can you help yourself and take care of yourself? After you are taken care of, you might move to the next closest person which might be your kid, a family member, a neighbor, a colleague, or a friend.
Don’t worry so much about all the negative information you are getting. Instead, focus on helping people, and start with the person closest to you.