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Stop Living in Denial & Turn off the News

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

... or at least pay it less attention.


Some argue that to not pay much attention to the news is to live in denial. I say the opposite is true.

To pay a significant amount of attention to the news is first of all to deny what you are actually watching. It is not “the news.” It is the bad news. “News” sources are absolutely not in the business of bringing you “the news” by any reasonable definition of that word. They are in the business of bringing you the bad news. “News” sources scour this beautiful planet, filled with billions of well-intentioned people doing good things for each other, and look for the most awful things they can—a fire, a flood, a shooting. When they run out of awful things that actually happened, they look for awful things that could happen. To let the news color your view of the world is to deny that the news is a monstrously distorted view of it. If there is any such thing as a scientifically valid sampling of “significant things that happened in the world today,” what we call the news is not it. We can recognize the distorted views of the world we call propaganda when they are offered by other countries, like past or present Russia and China. We don’t realize that we live in such a distorted reality when we take the dominant headlines of the day as “the way it is.”

To watch the news is also to deny ourselves hope and a connection to our own inner resources and infinite source of energy. When we allow ourselves to be bombarded by problems rather than solutions, we do not feel galvanized or inspired. We feel instead overwhelmed, paralyzed, and depressed. The truth is that there are millions of people working toward solutions to all our problems. People are offering pathways forward. If we don’t know about these solutions or feel too overwhelmed to contribute to them, we deny the world our help and we deny ourselves the opportunity to help.

Paying inordinate attention to the news also denies the life-giving blessings all around us: the sun through the leaves of trees, the hug of someone we love, the overflowing exuberance of a dog, the deliciousness of a meal. Just as beautiful flowers spring from rich and healthy soil, constructive actions arise from a foundational feeling of hope and well-being. Only if we take the time to nourish our soil by recognizing the good news all around us, do we have any hope of addressing the problems that are also out there in the world. In fact, when we are rooted in good soil, we don’t see problems. We see challenges that call forth our exuberant and endless creative energies.


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