If we refocus our personal lenses, the world takes on a different hue. A teacher of mine used to call it ‘filtering’: our personal filter dictates how we process the same world around us. So one person might see the rubbish on a street, the dilapidated house, the person they consider untrustworthy ‘loitering’ around, a stray dog. Another person might look at the same scene and see the trees and the way the light filters through them onto the pavement, a quirky house with old architecture, a person enjoying walking their dog.
Newspapers like Positive News are a refreshing change from the norm. Rather than frightening people and provoking anger, they empower, educate and uplift. Giving people responsibility for their own lives is empowering on an individual level; reminding them that those lives can be transformative, beautiful and a gift to others is the catalyst for change on a global level.
That’s why it’s so special to stumble across inspirational websites now and again: to remember all the wonders of the world and our human connectivity. I recently came across 21 Pictures that will Restore Your Faith in Humanity when I had just been doing some research on a well-known news website. This news website was filled with images and stories of acts of violence and terrible tragedies. Which is what made the 21 Pictures such a welcome discovery. A simple premise: people do good things for one another all the time, but sometimes we need reminding in a media world that relies on shock and horror.
Thinking about the filtering idea, it was equally uplifting to discover The Gratitude Project, a collaboration between photographers based across the globe who have come together to share images that express “that which awakens within us a deep sense of thankfulness and awe”. They go on to write: “In life we all face challenging times where parts of our lives may seem tangled and messy; yet we can still find a multitude of reasons to carry a full and thankful heart and when we do the feeling of gratitude seeps in and expands to every corner of our lives.” The first picture we see is photographer Vanessa Kessler’s sleeping daughter, evoking those deep feelings of complete awe all parents are subject to when their child is in perfect repose.
Being reminded of all that is good and beautiful in the world is an important antidote to doom news. It can help us keep a more open and accepting mindset, one which chooses to share love rather than fear. What always strikes me when I come across uplifting web projects like these two is that the people behind them are spreading that feel-good feeling to lots of lives which then has a drip-feed effect into lots of other lives. Just as fear can spread like wildfire, good vibes are also contagious – and much more worth catching.