Yesterday I had to opt out of Facebook for the day. I was on it in the morning and my feed was full of conspiracy theories, arguments over the relevance of masks, stories about a black man who was shot while jogging and just a whole bunch of BS and sadness that made me feel depressed and aggravated. So I noped out. I even posted it on my wall because I wanted to stay accountable.
You would think and you would hope that a worldwide pandemic would bring humanity together, but I see the opposite happening. The world and particularly our country are as split as ever. A pandemic is apparently powerful fodder for conspiracy theories and I’ve seen and heard everything from it being planted purposefully by the Chinese government to Bill Gates having a patent for it as far back as 2015.
I could go on and on about the lengths people go to sew mistruths and avoid inconveniences, and a pandemic is certainly full of “inconveniences” but that would be sapping my energy to argue with futility. And that’s why I got off Facebook for the day. I need my energy to support my children and work on meaningful projects, not try to debunk the youtuber with no credentials except for a good handle on photoshop.
It’s hard--but so important--to recenter with yourself when you are bombarded with the cacophony of discordant voices, especially if you have empathy for people and the desperation they might be feeling at a time like this.
When the world is full of uncertainty and mistruths, knowing who you are and what you value becomes crucial. I sat with myself and my core values because I needed a reminder to stop going down rabbit holes and engaging with anything that doesn’t feed my sense of wellbeing. I needed a reminder that I am a value-driven person and no amount of nonsensical babbling can take that away from me.
Do you know what your 5 strongest core values are? If not, I have an activity you can complete to figure it out. It is harder than you might imagine, but also fun and insightful. Most people want to identify with 8 or 10 values, but whittling down to 5 helps you really hone in on priorities. If you want to try it, here are the instructions. You will need to print out and cut out these Values Cards. I do recommend using the actual cards although you could also write out a chart. There’s something about the tangibility of each card that makes it more powerful, at least for me.
The point of this activity is self awareness. What is important to you? What filter are you using to sort through all the information and opinions out there? When push comes to shove (and we are in a push and shove situation for sure), what will you stand for?
I will leave you with one more thing. My mother-in-law gave me a book called The Daily Stoic. It has short daily readings around monthly themes. I love it. The stoic philosophy resonates with me. At its core, stoicism believes that knowledge and reason lead to virtue and that humanity must live in harmony with the natural world. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Anyway, after the disheartening from Facebook and the consequent grounding in my values of yesterday, this morning my reading started with the following quote: “Where is Good? In our reasoned choices. Where is Evil? In our reasoned choices. Where is that which is neither Good nor Evil? In the things outside of our own reasoned choice.” -Epictetus
Meditate on that for a while and see what comes up for you.
Here’s to a day of good reasoned choices and staying grounded in your core values.