How to Make a Difference

Making a difference in the world is something I'm passionate about. I personally believe that in the heart of every human is a desire to make things a little better, whether we own that impulse or not. For some people, especially in today's day and age, the state of things seems so overwhelmingly impossible that they build a wall up around that impulse and become apathetic--but underneath it all, that drive and desire is still there.

My mom subscribed to National Geographic Magazine for pretty much my entire childhood. I vividly remember being exposed to some harsh realities of the world from a young age--it was easy to be drawn in by whatever the cover photo was for the issues. There's some really specific moments I recall. One in particular was learning about the Berlin wall and how families were separated...how people would try and escape over the wall and would be shot and left to die in the space in between East and West. I still cannot understand that kind of brutality but as a young kid it felt even more incomprehensible. And then, I learned about the Holocaust...

Since I was a kid and prone to magical thinking, I set to work trying to solve the problems of hate and war. My solution at the time was to find a genie and be granted three wishes. (Man. I wish it was that easy!) Then the problem became what exactly to wish for. Because my mom pointed out that "Wishing for peace isn't enough. Because what if the price of peace was that people were under a tyrannical government or dictator that oppressed people?" So my work was really cut out for me! The one wish I came up with that felt as fool-proof as possible was, "I wish that all people of the world held respect for the lives and way-of-life of all other people in the world." I still think that's a pretty good wish!

As I got older and continued to learn about all the ways that humanity can act in horrific ways, I became overwhelmed...and would teeter dangerously close to becoming apathetic. Or cynical. Can you relate? Anyone? Since I figured out I wasn't going to find a genie and get three wishes, I needed to reassess things!

When I got still and paid attention, what I truly understood is that we make a difference in the world EVERY DAY by being kind; by being good; by listening--truly listening; by witnessing--truly witnessing; by connecting.

In today's culture we are taught to GO BIG or GO HOME. And I see that extending into all aspects of our lives, including "making a difference." I hear people lament that they can't put a dent in the problems of the world and then promptly give up. Or worse--decide it is a dog eat dog world and they are just in it for themselves.

By misunderstanding what it means to make the world a better place, we miss out on countless opportunities to do just that. By incorrectly thinking we need to massively shift things in order to make a difference, we stop ourselves from seeing our true potential--to powerfully affect those around us (friends and strangers) every single day.

If you doubt me, simply start paying attention to how you are affected by others you come into contact with throughout the day. And not just people you physically see and talk to, but words you read (a book, a magazine, a piece of graffiti) as well. How about social media posts? Are you affected by those? Which ones make you feel good and which ones throw you into despair? How does that affect the rest of your day?

Now imagine the billions of people on this planet. So many of them -- far too many -- receive not kindness. They don't get a smile, they don't get a meal, their reality is invalidated, their struggles are minimized...practice your empathy by remembering the moments in your life when your real pain was trivialized or you were simply told your feelings are wrong. It's painful. Now imagine if you were validated, affirmed, smiled at, encouraged, shown kindness in your darkest moments...you would be different. The world would be different.

I believe it is a fatal error not to recognize that the power to make the world a better place lies within each and every one of us simply by making a difference one moment, one person, at a time.

If this feels empowering to you, please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

NOW!!! Soul Song Sunday!

'm definitely having fun with this one! On the theme of love and how it makes everything better, I was reminded of this song from the 80s. Oh boy. THE VIDEO. It's sooooooooooooo dated! I mean, the video alone makes me smile and giggle! But that doesn't take away from the general awesomeness of this song! I hope you enjoy it!

Love & Pride by King

 

 

Love & Pride by King

 

That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride.
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride.

Start your journey early or maybe later
get your boots on

Look for rainbows
it's cloudy

Take your hairdryer
blow them all away.

In you I've found a story I want to keep hearing.
In you I see all colours
not just black or white.
In you I find a reason and hope for all dreamers

You are my fill
you're my supply of love and pride.
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride. . . .

Knowing
sensing
seeing
eating
sleeping
that's just being.
Touching
testing
loving
wanting and taking

more love and more pride.
In you I've found a story I want to keep hearing. . . .

I'm taking it round the world - some love and pride.
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride. . . .
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride. . . .