Find the Good News
Updated: Jul 23
There is a whole lot that I worry about these days. The virus. The environment. The dentist. The economy. My son's horrific math test scores. Every day, someone brings me news that I consider to be just bad. Bad news. How much can a person really take? But what if we could always remember to find a little good in the bad? Not see the brighter side of things, but see things in their totality as having good and bad parts. What if we could make that our standard approach to receiving information? How different would our days be? How different would we be able to feel about our lives?
Good news exists. A friend gets a new job. Your child brings home a note for excellent behavior in reading circle. A new recipe you tried is actually tasty. Your horse in the race wins the election. Good news. But somehow, most of our dialogue and much of our attention is captured by the bad. Bad news captivates. Bad news gets our blood pressure going and ignites something within. Bad news keeps us coming back for more. We say we don't like it, but we just can't seem to stop hearing about it or getting the details. We define it as bad and so it is. We don't even try to see any good.
But there absolutely is good news in each event that happens, if you are willing to find it. If you are willing to hunt it down and identify it. If you are willing to acknowledge that every day is going to include bad news, but it need not drown out the good. The positive. The hopeful, and the helpful.
Finding the good news absolutely does not mean looking at everything that happens with rose-colored glasses on. It means taking a moment to see that events that happen around us are actually neutral. How we view them is what makes us find them either positive or negative. The bad in "bad" news is because of how we feel and what we think. So if we can think and believe an event is bad, we can also think and believe some small piece of it holds a little good. I'll show you what I mean.
A death in the family. Bad news. Sad news. The good news might be found in new relationships forged or healed while dealing with the loss. It might be found in the gratefulness that spreads in their passing. It might just be the turning of the page, depending on your relationship with the person who passed. I honestly can't identify the good news for you because my definition of good and bad is different than yours. But there is good news to be found once we examine more closely our feelings about the event and how those feelings color the positive or negative value we have placed on it.
Don't get me started on our current politics. Bad. BAD. For me, every time I turn on the news there is something that I define as bad. Terrible, even. I think it is terrible what is happening at the border. I think it is terrible what is happening, or not happening, with climate change. I think it is absolutely terrible what is happening to the political rhetoric. Period. Not just bad - terrible. But this terrible day of news activates someone good to run for office this year. This terrible political dialogue drives people like myself to vote and bring others along with me. Buried in all of my bad is still some good. But I do have to step back and look for it. And I completely understand that not everyone views our current political climate negatively. Some are celebrating every action taken in Washington. I have learned to accept that a neutral event, like politics, is viewed differently by different people because of our feelings and beliefs associated with it. Accepting that has saved me from a whole lot of no-win arguments.
News is actually neither good or bad. How you feel about the news is good or bad. So if we decide to see news as bad, we can also decide to see news as good. Or to at least acknowledge the differing views that challenge our initial commitment to the bad. Seeing the news as bad is a choice. Finding the good buried within might be a better one.
News is neutral. We can feel good or bad about it. We can learn something, which would be good. We can change for the better. Also good. We can feel and spread positive energy. Good. Or we can complain. Hate. Disagree. Ruminate and collapse under the weight of what comes our way. That's probably bad. We can take whatever comes our way and decide how to feel about it, or better yet, suspend judgment as it occurs, knowing full well the potential for that news to be whatever we want it to be.
Taoism teaches about the balance of yin and yang creating a complete existence. Good and bad work together to create the whole. I think the same applies with the news that we see each day. Remember the Taoist tale of the farmer? It goes like this:
An old farmer’s horse wins a prize at a country show, the neighbor says, "This is good!" But the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The next day his horse is stolen. His neighbor proclaims, "This is bad." But the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
A few days the horse escapes the thieves and joins a herd of wild mares that all find their way to the farm. "This is good," says the neighbor. And the farmer again replies, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The next day, while trying to break in one of the mares, the farmer’s son is thrown and fractures his leg. You can guess - "This is bad," says the neighbor. “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The following week the army passes by to recruit soldiers for the war, but they do not take the farmer’s son because he cannot walk. The neighbor thinks to himself, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
I know what is good and what is bad. Everything. And choosing to find the good is a way more powerful choice than surrendering to our perspective that allows us to see only the negative. Find the good news. Make the good news. Be the good news.