Even Committed Activists Need to Be About More Than the Fight

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Television news programs in the United States have a long-standing tradition. We usually see it toward the end of their regular broadcast: the human interest story. It is shorter than the other segments and far more positive in tone. It makes me think that they realize what a bleak picture they've painted and want to end on a positive note.

For most of my adult life, this is when I've changed the channel, turned off the TV, or started dinner. Why? I was watching for news, and this isn't news. I'll pass on the feel-good fluff, thank you very much.

I have no regrets about doing this for so many years. But that doesn't mean I'll never change this practice. In fact, I've been thinking about doing something similar myself. I could make it a point to write something more positive every so often. There are more than enough depressing or anger-provoking things happening. Taking breaks from it to briefly focus on something more positive might be healthy.

There's at least one other reason I find this idea appealing. Focusing on positive things has never come easy for me. I've been a pessimist for as long as I can remember. I've made the same claims most pessimists do to justify it. I'm a realist, and reality is often unpleasant. But this doesn't change the truth that I've been a pessimist. Pushing myself to focus on positive things from time to time would be far outside of my comfort zone.

As for what this might look like, I'm still trying to figure that out. It could involve sharing some good news stories. Believe it or not, secular activists do win once in a while. Humanists working to advance civil rights have had some successes. It might not be easy to find, but positive news stories are out there.

Another way to approach it could involve describing some of the small things that make me happy. I've never viewed happiness as something one has or doesn't have. It fluctuates from moment to moment. For me, it is all about those moments. My guess is that it works this way for others too. Writing about the sources of my happiness could encourage others to reflect on theirs. That doesn't seem like a bad thing.

I've been thinking lately about how much negativity there is in the world. I've been kicking myself a bit and worrying that I've been contributing to it more than I'd like. That isn't what I want to do or who I want to be.

I have a problem. I don't know how to oppose injustice and fight extremism without feeling like I'm being too negative too much of the time. I have a hard time turning off or even turning down the fighter mentality. But even if the causes are just, I'd like to be about more than fighting for them. I'd like to be about more than fighting.

It seems like it would be good to try my hand at some more positive content. I know I won't be able to do much of it, but doing some might help me find some of the balance I'm lacking.

Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay