By Gail Siggelakis ~
The other day I got bolder going out into the world and went to my dentist to fix a cracked tooth. My dentist and I reconnected with small talk. Then I said, “Between the worldwide Corona Virus and protests over the inequities to Black people, we’re living during a time of great change.”
“Oh, people may be kinder now,” my dentist responded. “But it won’t last. Look at how short-lived the caring and kindness was after 9/11.”
I thought, I don’t see it that way. Why do I see all the goodness possible, yet my dentist doesn’t? How can I help others embrace this opportunity to be the change they want to see?
Be the Change You Want to See in the World
When I first heard those words years ago they were life-changing. Gandhi’s message to me was change begins with me. If I want to experience more kindness, be kind. If I seek a peaceful life, find peace within. If I believe in justice and care for all people, support my values in my actions. Lofty important goals, I’m sure you’ll agree, but how do we actually live them when everyday life sneakily distracts us from our intentions? Here’s one way.
A Changed Life, A Better World, Begins with a Choice and a Commitment
A couple of years ago, in my husband Gus’s Greek mountain village, I met a wise, very spiritual woman, who reignited Gandhi’s message in my heart and mind. Despina (who was the same age as me) and I would meet to silently walk together at 6:30 AM to greet the awe-inspiring sunrise over Sparta. On the way back, we’d chat and she’d share equally awe-inspiring thoughts. Here are some that stuck with me:
“All of us live in the world we have inside us. Whatever our inner feelings and thoughts—joy, anger, resentment, jealously, compassion, hate, empathy, love—we spread what’s inside us in the world. If we want to change the world, we must take responsibility for our inner world and our influence on the outer world.”
Despina’s words reverberate in my mind. Here are two actions I take to make them my reality.
Become the Observer of Your Thoughts
One part of being the change you want to see in the world is becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings. We think about 60,000 thoughts a day! Many luckily, are inconsequential to our impact on others. But our thoughts that are negative, critical, or negatively impact our emotions are the ones to attend to.
The deeper work here is to ask ourselves: What’s that about? Why am I feeling this way? You might journal, talk with a trusted close person, or have an inner dialogue with yourself to gain insight as to what to do with the negativity you’re feeling. The important take away here is, your feelings and thoughts are up to you to work through. For the sake of your inner peace and the energy you spread in the world, become the observer of your thoughts.
Possibly the simplest way to commit to being a positive influence in the world is to recognize your common humanity with all people and be kind. Here’s a number of ways I spread good energy through kindness, and you can, too:
1. Offer words of praise and encouragement freely and generously. A kind word makes someone’s day. Read my book, The Affirming Way of Life: See the Good, Speak the Good, Spread the Good, for lots of inspiration on how to find the words and make the most of your time with others.
2. Driving on the road, be patient and let others in your lane.
3. When out walking, even wearing a mask, smile with your eyes and wave to fellow walkers to affirm your connection.
4. Make it a habit to reach out to at least three people a day through a call, a text, or an email to let them know you’re thinking of them and you care.
5. Listen and actually take an interest in someone. Be curious about them.
6. Give, give, give. Give away clothing and things to others, cook for someone ill, give your time to help with a project, the options are endless.
7. Send good energy in the world daily. Imagine health to all you know who are ill. Imagine blessings to those seeking love. Imagine peace and healing of relationships, of countries, of political parties, of the environment. Everything is energy and your good thoughts do make a difference!
Why not commit to make your inner world and your influence on the outer world as positive as it can be!
(If you liked this please hit the share button below and share on your social media! Thanks much!)