If you want to change the world, go home and love your family ~ Mother Teresa
Some days we wake up and something so earth-shatteringly awful has happened in our world that all we can do is say a little prayer, pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, and hope tomorrow is better. Mass shootings, bombings, terrorist attacks, genocide … these are all terms that we have become so accustomed to hearing, our brains have become nearly numb to what they really mean. It’s easy in these instances to feel helpless and small. We don’t think we can make a difference in a world so filled with hate and ignorance and judgement. I can’t let my heart go to this place of indifference however. On the contrary, I think we CAN and MUST change the path of destruction our world is tumbling down at an incredible rate of speed. One person, one family, one community at a time, we need nothing short of a small acts revolution.
To be an example of compassion and consideration we must first love ourselves. I know this is easier said than done and trust me when I say it was a process for me to learn to love myself. There is a sense of insecurity in all of us about how deserving we are of love. We tend to look in the mirror and see our flaws and imperfections first. We question if unconditional love can exist for us. We wait for “the one” and look to other people to feel loved. Let me tell you, “the one” is that imperfect image looking back at you from the mirror. Only you can save yourself. Connecting with your inner self, showing yourself compassion and forgiveness first, accepting the flaws that make you YOU, will allow you to change your world.
Loving each other starts at home. We tend to be hardest on the people we love the most. It’s easy to lash at out at people we feel safe with. Living by the mantra, treat others the way you want to be treated, even at home, especially at home, will guide you. Be an example of mutual respect and consideration. Your loved ones are watching. We cannot expect to tell our children to be kind in the world and then demonstrate the opposite in their home. We cannot stand on our soapbox about bullying and then bulldoze people when we don’t get our way. We may feel small in this world at times, but always remember in your home you are someone’s whole world.
When you have focused your love on yourself and the people directly around you, challenge yourself to spread it further. Be the happy girl at work, compliment a stranger, commit to no negativity on social media. You will have good days and bad days, and I am by no means saying you should portray yourself as a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. But treating people unkindly, in both words and actions, will not elevate a hard day. Strive to make your own day better by being the light in someone else’s.
Remember too we are a world of unique individuals. We have different pasts, experiences, hardships, victories and opinions. We can and should embrace the diversity that surrounds us. Brene Brown says it’s hard to hate people close-up and I couldn’t agree more. Instead of seeing only disparity in those around us, spend some time with them so you can see the similarities. Our insides are all the same. See people up close, you will find similarities in those that may appear different from far away.
After the sadness of Las Vegas this week, I posted on social media with a graphic that say “Pray for Las Vegas,” and encouraged people to show a little more kindness than usual and to hug their loved ones tight. Later in the day, someone who is a friend of a friend made a comment that “prayers” (the quotes were in her words), would not help us and something to the effect that gun control would. Anger flooded me as I thought of this person taking a message from my heart and selfishly making it political. I quietly deleted that comment and despite this person’s snarky remark about prayer, sent a message to above hoping she may someday see the world in a different way. This world is not about you versus me, them against us. It is all of US. It is one small act leading to another and another, until there is a revolution of small acts that change everything. Be a part of the good and choose to change the world starting with your own. You can make a difference and will.