Another school shooting. Damn. Everytime the “Breaking News” banner comes across my television screen I cringe, hoping it’s not as bad as the picture my colorful mind has painted up. This one in New Mexico. They say sun provides people with vitamin D, essential in creating happy people, but even warm weather climates are subject to tragedies. Shootings amongst civilians have been popping up all over the country, so gun culture, background, and wealth doesn’t make anyone more or less privy to these incidences.
Whenever these horrific acts happen, we always want to know why. What was the gunman’s motive? Was it mental illness? Were they provoked? I believe finding a reason gives us a sense of peace. It’s always a shame when we don’t get an answer to these questions, like the recent Sandy Hook shooting. With no notes or clues, and no gunman to be questioned, we are left feeling helpless.
No one incident is like another, and I would never want to simplify a complicated and horrific event, but the human will, human desire, is pretty simple and straightforward. We all have this aching need to feel significant.
Think about it. Our every action is in an effort to feel validation, importance, or needed in this world. Tony Robbins even identifies “significance” as one the 6 human needs.We tweet hoping for retweets and new followers, constantly refreshing our news feed. We volunteer, donating our money and time to charity, because knowing that we’ve made a difference makes us feel good about ourselves. We search for relationships. Love is like a drug. Knowing someone can’t live without you invokes feelings of strength and achievement. Hell, even penning this blog post offers me the opportunity to share my views with a large audience, possibly inspiring or challenging a reader. Either way… I. Am. Heard.
That’s really what we want. Hear me. Notice me. Love me. Need me. Recognize me.
That’s why I could never hate my critics. I can’t genuinely be mad at a cruel tweet. I’ve been given wonderful opportunities to be heard and to feel significant. That less than favorable comment is their opportunity, and I have to respect that.
And so, I have a crazy hypothesis. Today’s day and age, full of fascinating technological advancements and bombastic media coverage, creates so much noise, we are stifling individual significance. And for some, it is too much. They do not know how else to be heard above all the noise.Our value is now determined by Facebook friend counts, “winks” received through online dating, and who texts us as the clock strikes twelve on our birthdays. We’ve allowed impersonal technology to define our personal significance.
So how can we change this? Is there anything we can do to reverse this modern day, ill-fated domino effect? There is no easy solution, but I think it starts with looking someone in the eye. Saying “thank you” and really meaning it. Shifting our focus from what will make me feel good, to what will make someone else smile. I know this all sounds very crunchy granola, but granola is full of fiber, and who doesn’t feel amazing after a good BM? Think about it.