In March of 2020, my family gathered at a restaurant to celebrate my mom’s birthday.
The next week, we learned that my sister and niece were living in the next town over from one of the state’s biggest COVID-19 hotspots. The town in which my niece’s aunts and uncles all live.
Upon learning this, I informed my coworkers at my freelance gig that I would be self-isolating and left the office. To all intents and purposes, I never returned to the office to work — and work from home full-time began. Fortunately, nobody in my family got sick.
All-too briefly, the nation shut down. The numbers declined, though not as much as they could have if the shutdown had been longer. Then — the holiday season hit, the schools half reopened, and the numbers started climbing astronomically.
Government intervention might have prevented this from getting to where it’s at now — but they were too busy focusing on an election. And when the current administration lost, they decided to throw a temper tantrum and all-but ignore the rising infection rates and death toll.
You may or may not have been impacted by this pandemic. But between the disease itself and the impact it’s had on our society — the world will never be the same.
For a lot of us — particularly those of us coming from a place of logic and reason — it feels like the whole weight of the world is on our shoulders. I certainly feel like I am holding up a lot of weight in trying to be a voice of reason, logic, and a light in the dark.
But carrying the weight of the world isn’t your job — nor is it mine.
Your world versus THE world
How is your world different from THE world?
Simple. Your world is the itty-bitty expanse of the Universe that revolves around you. And yes, I do mean it revolves around you. This is the life you live, every single day, where you are, right now.
THE world is what you see on the news, across social media, and in the places you aren’t. Happenings of THE world will impact your world. But more often than not the impact is less than you may think it is.
For example — the election. Unless you live under a rock you were aware of the insanity of this last election. Insanity that should be over but has managed to get stretched over another couple of months. Law, policy, and whether we live in a democracy or under a fascist manchild and his sycophants are at stake.
Yes, aspects of this may impact your world. But most of the impact will be outside of your control. All you can control will be how it changes your world.
Your world is small. It’s where you are at this moment, physically.
Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, psychologically your world is ginormous. That’s because when it comes to getting inside your head that is EVERYTHING.
Your actual, factual existence is wholly experienced inside your head. Yes, your body can and will be part of that. But even that is controlled and altered from within.
The weight of your world is far, far smaller than the weight of THE world. And your world can be bench-pressed by you for uncountable reps.
THE world can’t be directly changed by you. Your world is only for and of you. Ergo, you can change, alter, and control it.
But first, you need to stop carrying the weight of THE world.
Look within to see without
The question here is this: How is THE world impacting your world?
Maybe you lost your job; perhaps you work from home now when you didn’t before; you might have kids you have to help with remote schooling; it’s essential to wear a mask and practice social distancing when you need to go out; you or someone you know has had COVID-19 and are coping with the consequences of that.
That’s how all the matters of THE world might impact your world. And the burden of the weight of that alone is challenging to work with.
If you feel as though you are carrying the weight of the world right now, you need to look within. Get in touch with your inner being — your mindset/headspace/psyche — and see how THE world and all that’s happening within it is impacting you directly.
When things do not impact you directly, you have found a burden you can set down.
Knowing about what’s happening out there is not the same as taking it on as your own. You can be aware of the pandemic and ridiculous politics while only working within your small, personal world.
Practicing mindfulness is how you can focus within to see without. On the surface, the level where you interact with THE world, you have your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions to gauge your place in your world within THE world.
With that insight, you can better coordinate with your inner being — your mindset/headspace/psyche. When you see where your world is relative to THE world, you can stop carrying the weight of the world you can’t do anything about.
Fear, perceptions of selfishness, and other matters
There is, within the collective consciousness of the world, more fear and uncertainty than most of us have ever dealt with in our lifetime. The pandemic has changed the world so drastically and so quickly that we’re still reeling from it. AND, as it’s not even close to over — we’re still uncertain what the outcome will be.
Even the least empathic people can feel that things are off. The general experience of THE world is not right just now.
The reasons I know that I tend to carry the weight of the world is guilt, fear, and concerns about selfishness.
Guilt — because of the privilege I am well aware that I have. Because of this, I feel like I should do more for THE world.
Fear — because THE world, not to put too fine a point on it, is kind of fucked up just now. The levels of entitlement and idiocy standing against logic and reason are mind-bogglingly scary.
Selfishness — because if I put down the weight of THE world for my world — I’m afraid I look selfish.
The truth, however, is that I can only do my part from my world for THE world. To best do that, I need to keep my focus on my world and only carry the weight of my world. Self-care, and not carrying all that excess unnecessary weight of THE world is NOT selfish.
When you try to carry the weight of the world it will, inevitably, crush you beneath it. Nobody is that strong. But when you carry the weight of YOUR world you lessen the overall weight of THE world.
That can be empowering to more than just you
Lead by example
When you acknowledge the world outside of yourself and take appropriate actions — wearing a mask, social distancing, voting in elections, etcetera — you’re empowered.
When you are empowered you will carry yourself more lightly because the weight of the world isn’t on your shoulders. Nor should it be. Your world — though small in comparison to THE world — is the only place you have control.
When you take control of your world and manage to carry its weight — it will show. You will be less stressed, calmer, more capable of handling problems and issues as they arise. That will reflect outward for others to see.
If people see you managing the weight of your world, they might ask you how you do it. When you share that with them — they might decide to do the same. Thus, your beacon of light in the uncertain dark of THE world glows brighter. The net positive isn’t selfish and can spread to other people and their worlds.
In this crazy timeline, it’s all too easy to pick up the weight of THE world. But that’s not the job of any one of us. Our smaller worlds — that revolve around us — are more than enough weight to carry. When we manage to do so with greater ease it can influence other people to do the same.
Don’t give up when it doesn’t work immediately. This will take time. You may also put down the weight of THE world in increments rather than all at once. Just making the choice and deciding to act can improve your life experience.
Empowerment empowers. Put down the weight of the world, carry only the weight of YOUR world, and see how it all gets easier to manage.