Yesterday I saw something on Facebook, that tipped the balance on writing this post for me.
There is a lot of going on on the internet and in the media right now, following Caroline Flack taking her own life. What happened was tragic, and unnecessary, and shouldn’t have happened. No one really knows exactly how she felt in that moment, or what went through her mind. All we know is that she chose NOT BEING HERE FOREVER, over LIFE.
She was only 40 years old.
The only thing we can do now, is to come together, and hope that something good will come out of it.
Let’s make sure that this is not just a chance for people to voice their opinions, but do nothing.
That in a day, or week, or month, when another tragedy happens, this senseless death doesn’t just become yesterdays’ news.
AMONG THE NOISE, THERE IS SOMETHING WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT.
And we should. It’s accepting our part in these events.
We need to accept that for as long we continue watching reality TV, buying trash mags for ourselves or others, we are part of the supply and demand chain. Everyone is coming down heavy on the media. How dare they, its all their fault!
But the media is not some entity that we have no control over. It is run by humans, and it caters for humans. The cold, harsh truth is that if those magazines didn’t sell, and the viewing figures for those TV programs were zero, THEY WOULD NOT EXIST.
Millions of people are still buying those magazines, and watching the programs. I used to occasionally buy them when I was younger, I totally hold my hands up. Then I realized that my daughter is starting to flick through them, and started seeing them for what they are are. Cruel, bullying and narcissistic. I also used to watch Love Island & Big Brother, framing it as a “guilty pleasure”. But one day it clicked for me – these programs are nothing but cruel, and extremely damaging. Especially to young people, who are already so desensitized.
There is a way we can become part of solution, and not part of the problem. But we need to take responsibility.
Sadly we live in a world where the majority of humans operate from the monkey brain. It is the constant need for drama, and living from the head instead of the heart. That ‘s the real problem. Let’s face it, if reality TV was full of happy people being kind to each other, it would not make “good viewing”. If magazines were only full of happy love stories , and everyone saying how wonderful their life was, people would quickly mark them as boring. There would probably be a petition to ban the happy stories, to make sure no one felt hard done by in comparison. So stories are embellished, made up – because that is what sells. We need to understand that we all have a voice, and we all have a part to play in this.
THE REASON THE MEDIA IS FULL OF CRAP, IS TO FEED THE HUMAN NEED FOR DRAMA.
This image on the left, is the image is the one that made me cry. Apparently it’s from a Aussie magazine back from 2012. The magazine no longer exists, but it was aimed at teens. And it got some backlash back then, rightfully.
But it’s no different to current magazines is it? I still notice the magazine covers at my local Sainsbury’s, and frankly they make me shiver. Full blown assaults on peoples bodies, lives, or life decisions. Some say that celebrities should blame themselves, because they put themselves in the public eye. This is a ridiculous notion.
Because you choose to have a job that is in the public eye, you deserve to be ridiculed, and bullied, and judged? SAYS WHO?
It is rare that we see articles about how much good work celebrities do. For charities, human rights, and causes we have no clue about. Because that doesn’t sell papers, does it?
In the FB post I saw, the comments below this image were mostly outrage. Again, rightfully so. But also, the pitchforks were out. Comments like ” Who wrote this, they should be sacked”, “I hope they feel terrible now”.
REALLY? You hope they feel terrible? Why would you want that for anyone? The person who wrote this may have not liked it at all, but this was their job. Of course it would be wonderful to imagine that this person gets up, and tells the editor “no, that’s disgusting and I will have no part of this”. But maybe they have a family to feed, and couldn’t afford to lose their job? Maybe they didn’t agree with it, but did it anyway because they were not strong enough mentally themselves, to stand up for what they believed in? Or maybe they are now looking at this situation and feeling so deeply ashamed, that they want to dissapear themselves? We will never know. With the focus on the word KINDNESS, the last thing we should be doing, is getting our pitchforks out.
Blaming individuals and creating more hate, isn’t the way forward.
WE NEED TO TREAT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM, AND THAT IS THE DEMAND. BECAUSE WITHOUT DEMAND, THERE IS NO NEED FOR SUPPLY.
Whenever I have a discussion with anyone and they are passionate about a cause, I like to ask this question. So what are you going to do about this? What part will you play in contributing to a positive change?
Most of us think that as individuals we are powerless. But this is entirely untrue. We can all do SOMETHING, and change starts with us. Because if we all did something, we create momentum. And with momentum comes CHANGE.
We are sad, we are angry, and we can’t believe some of things that happen in that world. So let’s use those feelings.
Righteous anger is a catalyst for positive change.
You may ask, but what can we do? As individuals? How can we help?
In the context of the subject discussed, here are 5 action steps you can take RIGHT NOW to make a difference.
1. STOP BEING PART OF THE DEMAND CHAIN
Switch off the reality TV, and stop buying or reading the mags and newspapers that take part in the negativity.
2. THINK BEFORE YOU TYPE – AND IF YOU CAN’T BE KIND, BE QUIET
Remember, opinions are like a**holes – every one has one (sorry to be crude but it’s true). Your initial reaction to something may be outrage, but remember behind every judgement, every opinion and every event , there is a real person. Ask yourself, is your comment helping the situation, or anyone at all? Unless you have something valuable, or kind to contribute, ask yourself would it be better to hold back? Many people like to throw in their opinion to feed their ego. To be part of things, to belong to the discussion. Think about your intention, before you comment.
3. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN
Pay attention in conversations. Check in on your friends. Don’t assume that just because someone constantly portrays an image of being happy, they are. We often ignore our greatest ally, and that is our intuition. If you feel someone is in trouble, reach out to them. Give them space to talk, a cup of tea, and your time. Slow down, and try to read between the lines. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations, because you don’t know how to help. Just being there for someone can make all the difference, no one expects you to be a therapist. I wrote a blog post a couple of days ago about conversations, that I hope you will find helpful. The other blog post that may be useful, is about High Functioning Depression.
4. EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN
We live in a world, where there are more medicated teens than ever. We have to ask, why is that? Why are there so many children & teenagers with mental health issues, especially around anxiety & depression? And what does that mean for the world, that those teens are our next generation of adults?
It’s easy to blame, of course. The media, social conditioning, anything but taking ownership. This has to stop. It’s parents who need to teach our children kindness, compassion, self love, and RESILIENCE. This process begins at home. Children model their parents from a very young age. Long before school sets in.
So ask yourself – are you modeling behavior that will mean your child or teen, will grow up into a mentally healthy adult? Are you teaching your children to be good, compassionate people? What sort of conversations are you having, behind the safety of closed doors? Are you kind? Do you see the best in people? Do you know how to put yourself into someone else’s shoes? Do you have self love? Your children are always watching you and learning from you. If we want the world to be full of kind adults, we must make sure we lead by example. And for some reason we are not able to, we must show them that it’s ok to ask for help. Without shame, and without judgement.
5. PLEASE, PLEASE, ASK FOR HELP
When things like this happen in the celebrity world, everyone will hear about it. But of course, there are many ordinary people, many suffering in silence. We never hear about them, and they quietly slip away. Much of this is due to the shame and stigma still surrounding mental health. Things are getting better around acceptance, but not fast enough. If you are feeling down, depressed, or suicidal please reach out to someone, anyone. SAMARITANS have a 24 hour hotline (dial 116 123), and it’s totally anonymous. The world needs you, and you matter.
RIP Caroline. Lets hope your tragic departure will teach humanity to be kind BEFORE another senseless death.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.Leo Buscaglia
Maria is a Therapeutic Life Coach, Business Coach, Photographer & free spirit. Multi passionate, logical, creative, and an extrovert introvert. Fascinated by people, psychology and most at home by the sea. Foodie & dog lover.
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