Many of us think that being a rebel is a difficult and dangerous thing. However, there are many ways we can act out a quiet rebellion every day.
1. Feeling good about ourselves
A few weeks ago, I took an afternoon off to relax. I surrounded myself with nice drinks and treats and a pile of magazines and newspapers I had been wanting to read for ages. At the end of the afternoon, instead of feeling rested and rejuvenated, I found myself in a mood slump and couldn’t think why. Then it dawned on me. The magazines were full of beautifully dressed and made up women and perfect homes. No wonder I felt dismal when I looked up from the glossy pages into my real life, which didn’t have the same shine!
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Magazines rely on advertising to make money and it’s an advertiser’s job to make us feel bad about ourselves. After all, they can hardly sell us products to fix our faults if we are already happy with the way we are.
Every time we look in the mirror and smile or look around our houses with gratitude for all that we have, we are committing an act of rebellion. Big businesses rely on our fears of not being good enough, not having enough and not impressing other enough to fuel their industries. Unfortunately, they are using up the planet’s precious resources and exploiting people along the way.
When we are happy with ourselves and satisfied with just enough, we limit their power over us. Plus, if enough people do this, businesses will eventually have to change their ways.
2. Replacing the positive with the negative
My afternoon of reading also made me feel bad because of all the negative stories I read. The news is obsessed with sensationalising everything to sell papers. Unfortunately, stories of hate, violence and division are the stock subjects they turn to in order to boost sales. The media can stir up hate and prejudice just to sell more papers and more advertising. This negativity also filters down into our social media feeds and our conversations with others. It’s hard to block our news sources completely. After all, we want to stay in touch with the world. But by being aware of the motives behind the news we can take a more objective view. This can help us to stop spreading the division and prejudice further.
We can also make a conscious choice to spread positive news stories, love and acceptance when we can. By actively seeking out positive news stories, such as those at Good News Network, we get a more balanced view of the state of the world. We can enact a quiet rebellion simply by refusing to respond to hate-filled news. After all, the media relies on having an audience for its articles and advertising.
3 Keeping an open mind
Rather than simply switching off the news, we can seek out new information to help us have more understanding of the true nature of the world and everything in it. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the idea of a filter bubble. This is the theory that, because of social media algorithms, we are only exposed to news sources that already match our viewpoints. Our narrow view is constantly reinforced and we never get to see any conflicting information. We can change this simply by reading many different sources of information. When we interact with different views and opinions we stay open-minded. This means we are less likely to be sucked into seeing the world in a black and white way.
Reading novels has been shown to help us be more empathetic. Novels show us different ways of living, thinking and feeling that can help us overcome our prejudices. By being well read, we are less likely to be manipulated by false information in the media, advertising and politics. Learning critical thinking skills may be the biggest act of rebellion we can make.
4. Building a community
Those with money and power are desperate to keep it. Because of this, they like to keep people separate and divided so that we are so busy fighting amongst ourselves that we never stop to think about who the bad guys really are. This ‘divide and conquer’ mentality is extraordinarily efficient at keeping people in their place. However, whenever we build a community we are breaking this mentality and performing an act of rebellion.
We can build a community around anything we are passionate about, from the environment, child poverty, equality and any other political and economic viewpoint. However, we can also build communities around our hobbies and dreams. Sharing resources and information is a powerful way to take back control of our lives and thrive without the input of big business.
5. Living our dreams
Finally, we can rebel by living our dreams wherever possible. Following our dreams makes us happy. Happy people often have less need to buy stuff, overeat, or become consumed by addictions and bad habits. When we are happy, we tend to look after ourselves better, we then need fewer drug treatments and are less likely to fall prey to advertisers and their ‘miracle’ cures for our woes. It turns out that being happy can be one of the biggest acts of rebellion we can make.
Instead of becoming overwhelmed by all the bad things that happen in the world, we can focus on small ways to make a difference. In this way, we can start our own rebellion.
Let us know in what ways you are taking part in a rebellion.