Living in an Echo Chamber

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on August 26, 2021 # Lifestyle

Kristin outside smiling and wearing a colorful dressHealth care, religion, politics, Donald Trump, COVID-19, the Biden Administration, climate change, LGBTQ rights, childhood obesity, disabled rights.

Did I trigger anyone? It’s an easy thing to do these days, so much so that we’re second-guessing the most basic of conversations to make sure we don’t accidentally offend anyone. It’s not that our country has become more brash – it’s because our country has become more sensitive.

We’re surrounded by division and negativity. Not only that, that fatalistic mentality is reinforced through the news, entertainment, current events and, often, our interactions. It’s exhausting and, if you don’t have habits in place to protect from being bombarded, detrimental to your health.

So, what are those habits? What do they look like? Here are some suggestions:

Not everyone is not like you, and it’s okay. If everyone were like me, a wheelchair-using white girl with a love for small dogs and drawing cartoons, we’d be in bad shape. I realize that, and I’m thankful for science-minded people, people who look different in skin color and heritage, and for people who feel the opposite of me on social and political issues. Instead of butting heads with your opponents, be thankful for the diversity they’re bringing to your life. Let’s stop getting so angry when we disagree, and embrace their variance.

Let some things go. In a similar vein, realize that every “battle” is not meant to be fought. Before typing an ugly comment on social media about someone’s political views, for an example that hits close to home, consider the questions: “is my comment/opinion going to make a difference?”, “is expressing my opposition worth hurting the person’s feelings, or losing this friendship?” and “why am I doing this?” Hopefully, one of those will slow you down long enough to choose the correct battle. Some are worthy of your energy, but most are not.

Keep in line. If someone is hitting you with 100 metaphorical snowballs, I’m not telling you to offer him hot chocolate, but maybe don’t scream obscenities as a response. Don’t compromise your character just because someone is challenging you. It’s not worth it.

Learn to say, “I’m sorry.” This is a hot topic for me because of how it’s overused by people today. Recognize that an apology is sometimes necessary, but be mindful to not say it so much that it loses meaning. When an appropriate “sorry” is given and accepted, that’s the start of overcoming conflict and restoring the peace. There’s not enough time in our lives, and there’s already too much division to hold grudges against each other, so an apology is the first step in moving forward.

Start your day off right. My husband has a routine of waking up very early to read a book, have his quiet time, and prepare his mind for the busy [and often annoying] workday ahead. His daily routine services his patience and peace of mind throughout the day. My routine looks a little different but has the same benefit: get up early and ride my handcycle 8-10 miles before the day starts. That is to say, the “right way” varies from person to person. You have to find what works for you and what sets you up for productivity and peacefulness.

The piece we seem to be skipping over these days is: grace. In general, people aren’t out to get you. Do what you have to do to keep your contentment in check. A good place to start is to make an effort to give people some slack, and looking for the heart behind people’s perspectives/words. Show other people some grace. You’re going to need it, too, one day.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.