If you want to make a difference in the world, don’t think you need to start big… just start somewhere
Change is a slow, patient thing. It never comes overnight, it’s never obvious until it’s already there, and it’s never about one grand act. Change isn’t in a single gesture; it’s a million seemingly inconsequential ones. It lives inside us every single day and needs to be nurtured the way you would a growing child — with love, forbearance, and consistency.
Changing the world for the better takes time and resilience. While you might be able to improve someone’s life overnight with a single big act of kindness, if you want to be an advocate for goodness, justice, and tolerance throughout your whole life, you’ll need to start with yourself.
You’ll need to empower yourself and find your inner strength and tenderness. Here’s how.
Do a small act of kindness every single day
You don’t have to buy someone a house or give them your kidney to change their life. While grand acts of self-sacrifice are truly admirable, altruism actually isn’t nearly as grand or difficult as you might think.
The things that really bring about a change in the world are often tiny…
A compliment for your mother, a planted tree, extra coins in the vending machine for the person who comes after you. Even something as simple as leaving a nice comment on someone’s Facebook post. Yep, things as miniscule as those absolutely do matter.
Do acts of kindness like that every day and you’ll start nurturing a compassionate, positive mindset. It will give you the strength to keep the bright torch of hope lit even in the darkest of times.
Choose a rewarding path
The pandemic helped us put things into perspective. Now that millions of people are getting sick every day, many people are eager to explore careers in the medical field because they could give us the chance to make a real difference. Even current medical professionals are working on keeping their skills sharp with coronavirus preparedness ACLS and PALS courses, and everyone is doing their best to pitch in and help.
Of course, you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse. There are many professions that are just as essential: firefighters, physical therapists, social workers, guidance counselors, psychotherapists… The list is long.
There are many ways to make a difference in this world, and all you need to do is choose the one that calls your name.
Volunteer when you can
Choose a cause that matters to you. Perhaps you want to work in a homeless shelter, or maybe you want to provide emotional support and company in a nursing home. Anything from working with orphaned children to rehabilitating injured animals or protecting the environment is an option, so it’s best to pick something that’s close to your heart.
There’s never a shortage of people who need help, so even if you don’t want to get involved with an organization, you can give help to people in your own community. For example, you could offer to buy groceries for the elderly couple who lives next to you, or organize your friends for a cleanup initiative. The point is to give back, to think beyond your box, to do something that matters… and matters to you.
Reuse, repurpose, and recycle
We’re surrounded by fast, thoughtless consumerism that leads to a lot of waste. Instead of constantly buying new things that you don’t even need, try to be more thoughtful with the things you already own. For example, your old clothes can be repurposed to make something entirely new, and you even get to enjoy a little DIY project in the process. Clothes, food, toys, books, and other things can also be donated to your local shelter.
Also, try to invest in reusable items instead of relying on plastic that needs to be thrown away. If you do use a lot of plastic in your daily life, do your best to recycle it to minimize the harmful impact on the environment.
Practices like this require small adjustments, but they actually make you feel good… and do a world of good, too!
Take care of yourself
To help others, you must help yourself first. Even though this might sound like a simplistic or even selfish suggestion, taking care of your needs is actually beneficial for other people, not just yourself.
Think about it — if you’re exhausted and drained, you won’t have any energy to make people’s lives better.
So, once you start working on helping others, remember to occasionally take time for yourself. If you ignore your own problems you’ll burn out quickly, and the point is to keep strong and positive for the long haul.
Don’t fall into a trap of thinking that changing the world is an impossible task. It’s not impossible, it’s just a long process. Remember that you’re not alone in it. Even if your friends and family aren’t as eager as you are to make a difference, there are plenty of kindred spirits out there who want to make this world a better place. Find them, surround yourself with them… be one of them.
You may also enjoy reading How to Thrive in Times of Change by Gary Douglas