Sometimes we look around and see a world that seems to make little sense. Gang violence, ridiculous gun laws, mass murder, war, rape, refugees with no homes, domestic violence, a disgusting sexist, racist man running such a powerful country, sex trafficking of young children, animal abuse . . . the list is endless. It can truly leave us feeling deeply lost, sad, and hopeless.
These issues matter! It is all well and good to say we hate that they exist, but when we are not directly involved we can somehow remove ourselves from these issues, until it happens close to home.
As Writer/Blogger/Activist/Mother Lisa Pomerantzster pointed out in her passionate blog post about gun laws or lack there of, in America “Bloated white men in high offices are allowing young white males to steal childhood, eternally changing families before our eyes.” It unfortunately seems all to easy for them to remove themselves from these massacres, these brutal murders, to lay down at night without the blood of children on their hands, or minds.
Think about missing children you have seen on news stories, which ones pop into your mind? Most likely it is a child with the same colour skin as you, and even more likely it will be a white girl who came from a middle class family because these are the ones the media focus on. Is the value of a terrified child/abused child/missing child, more important if it is a white girl? Aren’t all children worthy of our concern? Of course they are.
Terrorism is another example of how it only seemed to bother us when it got too close to home. And homelessness only registers on most peoples radars if someone they know becomes homeless.
I am not saying we should sit and worry about all the things wrong in this world, but I don’t believe living in a bubble is the answer either. We can not save everyone, and it is hard to change the world when we try on our own. The thing is though, we don’t have to do it alone. Stepping up and making a difference can truly help others and also give you a sense of purpose. It can make your life feel more meaningful, it can help you cope with feelings of helplessness.
Here are some tips on how you can make a difference. It is up to you how big or small you want to go. It can help to start with baby steps and work your way up if you want to. We can all make a difference, we can all work towards a better future.
- Smile. Smiling at others can truly help people feel cared about and less alone. Plus smiling is contagious and will make lots of people feel better.
- Thank you. Saying thank you for the small things and the big things can make a huge difference in your life and the life of others.
- Compliments. Give as many genuine compliments as you can. If your coffee is amazing tell the barista. If your child cleaned up well then let them know.
- Volunteer. There are so many opportunities for volunteer work. Try a homeless shelter, womens shelter, a nursing home, library, an animal rescue centre, group homes, schools where class sizes are overloaded, gardening clubs, delivering meals to the elderly or homeless, driving people to doctors appointments.
- Raising money. If you have a particular skill you could do things or make things that you can sell to raise money and then donate it.
- Offering a room in your home to someone in need.
- Fostering a child in need.
- Walking dogs for an animal shelter, or a person you know who is not capable of exercising their dog.
- Volunteering overseas.
- Donating items in great condition.
- Show gratitude.
- Reading to children in hospital, or elderly in nursing homes.
- Listen. Sometimes we don’t need to solve or fix anything, we just need to listen.
- Write. Write letters to our governments, share your views on social media, blogs, or write a book to help inspire change in others.
If you have a special talent or skill use it to help. You may sew, cook really well, knit, have a way with animals, maybe you are great at organising parties so you could host a fundraiser, or maybe you can coach a team of refugees in a sport you excel at, you are only limited by what you can imagine!
If you are still not sure what you can do then my advice would just be yourself. When we are true to who we are, and we are kind to ourselves then our positive energy will flow forth. Remember that most people are just looking for someone to accept them for who they are. Sometimes acceptance needs to begin with ourselves, and change needs to start from within. believe in yourself, and shine your light on the world.
Thank you for reading, love Mackenzie