How to Change the World

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.

~ Mahatma Gandhi


Someone recently shared with me that the current state of the world is weighing heavily on his mind. Violence seems to be escalating and is the go-to tool for resolving conflict. The “us v. them” mentality is rampant, creating a sense of hopelessness that we will continue fighting amongst ourselves.woman hands outstretched open

I’m not going to get into the politics of various current events. But I am going to provide some food for thought.

How we view the world is a choice we make.

We can label the world as a fearful and hostile place, which means we create the mental state of being constantly wary, ever ready to “get them” before they get us. This choice is readily prevalent in war zones or police actions. That’s easy to see.

But it’s also present in our daily lives. Ever cut anyone off in traffic? Can’t let them get ahead! Or maybe you’ve laid on the horn, shouted or used hand signals to indicate that you’ve got important things to do and their speed is hindering you.

Or maybe you’ve engaged in uncivil behavior: interrupting someone speaking because our words are so much more essential; pushed our way to the front of the line because our time is more valuable; or ignore people we pass on the street because we don’t like their demeanor, physical appearance, age, etc.

We can judge and be wary and seek vengeance. We can believe we’re superior to other beings on this earth. That our way is the best way. And, yet…

How we view the world is a choice we make.

What if we made a choice to believe we need to be compassionate and care for one another, knowing that everyone we encounter has drama and upset in their lives?

What if we listened, really listened to others, to hear their pain, and joy, giving them the respect we feel we deserve?

What if we recognized that everyone—absolutely everyone—has been put here for a divine purpose?

We can’t control other people’s behavior. We can control how we respond to others. And we can choose kindness in all our affairs.

What if kindness was our watchword?

 Be kind when possible. It is always possible.

~ Dalai Lama


Your Call to Action:

What motivates you to show kindness to someone? When 5 different people cross your path in the upcoming week, look at them with an awareness that they are wrestling with some sort of struggle. How does this change your behavior toward them? How can these kind acts contribute to changing the world?

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