What is going on with our world, and how can we make a difference? Am I really as powerless as I sometimes feel?
Here’s a thought: What if by my words and actions I could significantly alter the world around me?
Mother Theresa said “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
I don’t know about you, but with all the craziness going on as our environment continues to be pillaged, and as candidates jockey in surreal fashion for their party’s nomination for President of the United States … I am finding myself feeling a whole bunch of things. Disbelief, shock, relief (to be Canadian/British), fear, astonishment (did I really just hear Trump say that?), sadness, brief moments of despair, and conversely hope.
Why hope? The one positive I can pull from this mess is it has become so extreme that it has galvanized people in to thinking about, and expressing what they stand for. For instance it has highlighted politicians, what they stand for, and what they value because they are in such stark contrast to one another. And in turn I have found myself getting a lot clearer on what I value in others, and what I would like to model myself. Authenticity, empathy, the ability to listen to other people’s opinions, the wisdom to know when to stay quiet, respect for our natural world and the animals that live in it, compassion and kindness.
Positive Psychology has demonstrated in a number of different research studies that the way in which each individual conducts his or herself has a significant impact on those around them. More specifically if you smile or laugh others around you they are more likely to smile and laugh too. If you are generous to someone, they are more likely to pay that generosity forward. And if you are kind to those with whom you interact that kindness helps to shape their behaviour. So yes, I believe each one of us can make a difference in shaping our world.
Three Things You Might Try that can make a real difference:
- Make kindness your religion. I know, it seems so obvious doesn’t it. But if we were all to conduct every interaction with a fellow human, animal, and nature itself with kindness the world around us would change for the better. It can be hard to appreciate the cumulative effect of simple acts, but thinking of them as a marble bumping in to a bunch of other marbles, scattering them outwards and then those marbles being rolled again…helps me to visualize it.
- Play a game of challenging assumptions and watch your world subtly shift. The simplest example (apologies – I’ve used this one before) is when we are behind the wheel of a car and get cut off by someone. A typical knee-jerk reaction would be to judge that they are driving badly, being selfish or think they are more important than you. If you play the challenging assumptions game you can come up with another story: they are rushing to school because their child was hurt in a fight. Or their dog is choking on a stick and they are rushing to the vets. Or you are just a better person than them, and bask in the knowledge of that!
- Think about who you would like to be as President/Prime Minister/Supreme Leader of your universe. Consider yourself elected – now model it!
With warm wishes for a happy day,