A blog about the complexities of information overload, overthinking and how you can end up just feeling sh*t. Plus an exercise in talking to yourself. All good!
Anyone else feeling constantly bamboozled by the amount of information continually coming at us?
We are told:
how to start doing something
how to stop doing something
how to be better at this
how to be better at that
how to make X happen
how to stop Y happening
what we should think about this
what we ought to do about that
and on ...
There are posts on social media, so many books written by “experts”, so many articles and blogs available everywhere, podcasts, short videos, long videos, films available across numerous platforms, magazines, newspapers, radio, adverts everywhere, views wrapped up in documentaries and in comedy …. And on. And on. And on.
The thing is, I’m not saying that the information being thrown at us isn’t potentially helpful. It so often is. The trouble is, there is so much of it and so many different views and advice, it can also have the effect of leaving us feeling inadequate, incapable, vulnerable, unsure of ourselves and what we think and feel. We can end up feeling that we are crap at life, that we don’t know what’s good for us and those we care for, that we need to keep doing stuff in order to solve our problems and to feel better, feeling that the solutions for us are “out there” if we just keep searching for the expert information that will provide the missing link and settle us down.
So - we do keep searching, we keep watching and reading, we keep lapping up the knowledge and the suggestions and the expertise. We keep doing it and never get to the end. Sometimes we wrap it up and present it to ourselves and others as a love of learning or self-development or business development or something else. We find people whom we like and trust and we can end up believing that everything they say is good for us and what we need. No questions.
We might do all of those things and it’s probably going to be OK to do so.
However, - in my view - it’s only OK if it isn’t damaging us, stopping us from thinking for ourselves and not making us feel sh*t about ourselves on some level. It’s only OK if it isn’t confusing the hell out of us about what we actually, need, want and think about things deep-down. If it isn’t overshadowing our autonomy, our uniqueness, our Self.
So, to get a break from the constant input from the external world, my challenge to you is to spend some time taking yourself back to basics and to check in with your internal frame of reference for a change. To have a word with yourself to see what you actually think about stuff. What you think and feel yourself about yourself and other people in the world, about how we live our lives.
As a starter for 10 (actually it's 8), I’m offering you a list of juicy and often controversial issues below. Let yourself take a 360-degree view of each one and explore it from different angles, however uncomfortable and unusual a particular perspective might feel to you. It’s not (just) about your first response to the questions as that may come from that engrained and deep-rooted place that’s never been questioned or you’ve never challenged for yourself. Think about alternative perspectives. If you were to disagree with yourself and pitch an opposite argument, what would you say? You might learn something new and alter your perspective. All good stuff in understanding more about yourself and who you really are.
In thinking about how you feel in response to the questions, let it be OK to know for yourself that, deep down, you really don’t want to look at plus size models in a bikini on TV if that’s how you feel. If that is the case, check out with yourself why you might feel like that – is it your own or someone else’s voice that you’ve listened to in the past and you feel most comfortable saying the “right” thing, is there a related fear that you have, does it say something about how you feel about your own body? Only you will know.
Let it be OK that you don’t actually think kids should be given homework, even though both your parents are teachers! Risky. But you are allowed and entitled to have a different view of the world. Enjoy it.
This is essentially an exercise in recognising that you are an individual with an ability to think for yourself. That you don’t have to accept what you’re told to think by advertising creatives and marketeers, by the article writers, by your parents, or your friends, or your teachers, by politicians, by journalists, by the social media “influencer” or whoever the f**k you listen to and whose word you take as gospel.
No white noise.
It could be interesting.
And in case you were wondering, I’ve got no intention of entering in to any discussion with you about these very juicy and potentially divisive topics. People who know me will know that I easily climb on to my soapbox about things I feel strongly about and I’m very happy to talk to anyone about most things. But this isn’t about debate and discussion with others. This is about you having a conversation with yourself and really working out what YOU think, what YOU feel and what YOU want for yourself. No one else matters for this.
Enjoy the ride …
So, here are some issues for you to consider, to talk about with yourself and to work out what you think and feel about them:
1. Should we all learn to be content with our body or is enhancing it with cosmetic surgery OK? Should it ever be available on the NHS? Is it OK for a young girl to be supported by her parents to get a boob job as soon as she can? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
2. Homework – is it a good thing or not? Should teachers teach kids all they need to know when they are in school without the need for extra? Should homework be voluntary for those who want to do it and not compulsory? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
3. Should we all be able to choose when we die? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
4. Should parents/guardians find ways to limit their children’s access to Social Media to lessen the impact or just leave them to manage it themselves? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
5. Should people on benefits have to account for how they spend their money to ensure they are spending it on healthy food? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
6. Should plus-size models be used for advertising or does that just reinforce a message that being overweight is OK and nothing to worry about? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
7. What do you think is right and wrong with our education system? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?
8. Should the NHS always be free at the point of care for everyone? Why do you think that and what is your personal view?