It’s safe to say that we all need a little hope, love, and happiness right now, given that our country and our world feel crazier than ever. Despite the fact that very troubling news keeps breaking, I have found myself surprised to see positivity and compassion rise out of these ashes. I have been inspired by my friends, and strangers, to stop trying to fix the whole world, and work on fixing my tiny corner. If every person worked to make their little community better, the entire world would be a brighter place. I already see this happening.
The tides of history are changed when people decide that they will do their small part to make the world better, instead of focusing only on the tragedies and heartbreak. They decide that enough is enough, and that they will only be responsible for good things. Here are a couple of ideas to help us all love each other better.
1. Be kind.
This is probably the most important one. Hold doors, smile at strangers, compliment someone, talk to the homeless man you usually avoid. Once you do this once, you will notice that a kind gesture is literally all it takes to bring someone hope. And that hope will create a profound change in both yourself and the other person.
2. Share good things.
I am not saying to pretend that everything is peachy. When I see a video on Facebook that shows people connecting positively, however, I start to believe again that the world is what we make it. If we only share awful things, we will start to think there are only awful things out there. Help remind all of us that even if the media only reports on the negative, that version of the world is skewed.
3. Check in with your neighbor.
The other day, I was feeling really sad, tired, and overwhelmed with the state of our country. Melissa could tell I wasn’t in a good place and simply asked me why I was so tired. “Was I playing Nancy Drew computer games late at night again?”, she joked. I am sure she knew I was sad, not just tired, but that subtle comment opened me up. We had a long conversation about our feelings about everything. The rest of the day I was happy because I realized I wasn’t alone in my thoughts and that at least the two of us were trying to make the world better. Sometimes you simply have to give someone the opportunity to open up, even if you don’t explicitly assume what is bothering them.
4. Don’t hold back laughing and smiles.
The Swift Kick book club read the book “Deep Survival.” The author mentions how in places where there is high risk and dangerous situations, like the military, a very dark sense of humor starts to develop. He says that dark humor is part of surviving these experiences because it puts things into perspective, without forgetting about the real danger. It helps keep you cool in moments of peril. Sometimes we joke about awful things because we cannot handle the total gravity of the situation – and that’s okay. As long as you know the person you’re talking to will understand what you mean, it’s okay to laugh and smile. The endorphins you release will help you bring out your best self, so that you can get to work bringing happiness to others.
5. Share this message of hope.
As you work on making your community better by being responsible for your own actions, tell others about this concept. Help them spread the ideas of kindness, laughter, and love, so that the ripples never stop. Instead of framing it in a “you should do this” way, just let people know what you think will help us. Remind them that doing big good things should never usurp the good things we do in our day-to-day interactions.
Now go out there and spread some sunshine! 🙂 #HumansNeedHumans