Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I remember last August when I read about the political protests that happened in Charlottesville. I was to say the least devastated. My mind yelled: ‘More violence?! More hate?! What is this world coming to?!‘ In the moment, I started to feel discouraged, like my mission for doing good had only become tougher. I felt scared, like this world was only continuing to become more dangerous every minute.
I turned my mind to focus on all the negative things that happened during the event. One negative thought led to another. And by the time I was finished with my thinking I became aware of something that really shocked me: My thinking had ended up on negative thoughts unrelated to the event. My thoughts had shifted to my personal life, and I was now personalizing an event which had happened over hundreds of miles away. I had literally stacked my negativity with negativity without even realizing it.
What’s the lesson here? There’s no doubt, there’s a lot of fear and evil happening in this world. If you don’t know it by now, you can certainly find out about it very quickly. Turn on the news, listen to the latest local gossip, or read about the millions of people who continue to live in poverty today. Finding problems and focusing on them is very easy to do. It is then even easier for your mind to believe and conclude the world is simply a scary, horrible, and awful place.
But I’m here to say no. It’s really not so black and white. There’s a lot of good in this world, good that will not be reported on, gossiped about, or written in books. So it’s our job, our challenge, to find it and see it for ourselves. It’s there, I promise you! I see it every day! If I don’t, I make sure I find it. This is where I’ve learned to teach myself to stack positivity with other positivity. If anything, your perspective starts to shift on how you perceive your life and the world. I don’t deny the negativity in the world, but there are enough voices for that.
Again, this is no easy task. I say this even from my own experience. There’s greater trends in our society of negativity over positivity, conformity over individuality, greed over gratitude, generalizing over understanding, and hate over love. Changing our perceptions to a more positive outlook is not in our favor. At times, this can feel overwhelming, defeating, and hopeless to even think about doing. I get that, and as I noted above I’ve gone there sometimes too. But instead of focusing on all the problems, I encourage us to put more focus on all the potential solutions.
I’m telling you, my readers, that “Yes, YOU can make a difference”, even if you think it seems futile at the moment. If you don’t think you can, ask yourself if it’s at the very least possible. If no one else does it, YOU be the change! Gandhi was one of those individuals, a voice for change even with the odds stacked against him.
There’s always room for more voices like his.
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