June 24, 2016 by Cláudia
The last post I talked about believing the world can change. This post will be about my own path in making the world a better place.
When I was around eight I wrote a “book” called For a Better World. I had all these ideas about how everyone could live in peace, and about how everyone could have a good life if we shared what we have. If everyone realized what I realized, a world of justice, fraternity and peace would be possible, even easy.
I thought this would happen over time: “It is only a matter of everyone respecting everyone else”. I still believe that a world without cruelty is possible, and quite easier than we would think – if everyone starts believing in the possibility of it, then we can consider it already done. To be able to imagine something really it is to create that possibility. Right now, that conjecture is still blocked because many people can’t even conceive it.
I believed in it, though, still do, and kept waiting for the other people to believe it too. But for a long long time, this way of thinking doomed me to failure. I didn’t understand why everyone else couldn’t just think like me so we could all get along. I was waiting for everyone else to change in order for me to accomplish what I dreamt, and as for myself, wasn’t doing much.
What I didn’t realize back then was that the only actions I am entitled to control are my own. I didn’t understand how I could make any difference just by small simple actions so I just put all the pressure in others to be the way I imagined them to be and reduced my actions to complaining and sourely criticizing everyone. Also, it took me way too long to understand the greatest misunderstanding I was carrying: that I could change the world but remain the same.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
This is an extremely cliché quote but I honestly believe in this. Want a kind world? Be kind. Want a peaceful world? Exude peace. There’s no other way to achieve change besides embodying what you preach.
My ideas have always been in the utopic realm, but paradoxically the way I was behaving, I would never have been a part of my own conception of a perfect world. I used to be such a source of darkness and negativity: I criticized people very easily and pointed my finger at everyone for not being perfect. I didn’t treat myself or others well. I had many bad days and in those days I was rude and lashed unfairly at other people.
Somewhere along my journey, particularly when depression hit the hardest, I understood how I was sabotaging myself. I want to be a source of light, to treat myself and others with kindness. To share ideas, but not force them, and to respect others not in a paternal way in which I believe my views are better but in a true honest way in which I value everyone no matter what. I want to be freed from my anger and to be able to remain mindful and peaceful even when I am attacked. I want to answer with peace when I’m attacked with violence and I want to be kind when I’m attacked with wickedness.
I’m not that person. Yet. I realized that before I am who I truly want to be, I have to treat myself kindly and learn how to love myself for me. To love me even when anxiety strikes, to be critical but understanding when I am being unreasonable. To forgive and do what is best for me. Self-love seemed a selfish idea at first until I realized it was about having the same love and respect for myself I wish someday people will have for each other.
Small actions, mindfulness, self-love, it all may seem meaningless at first sight in terms of creating a better world, but it’s not. Everything we do influences positively or negatively what surrounds us and our inner energies will inevitably contaminate those who come near us. Sometimes all it takes to make someone’s day a lot better is an honest smile. I can’t tell you how many days I have been in a bad mood because people in the bus were being rude and complaining about everything. And probably my bad mood affected someone else etc. The power to affect those energies lies in all of us, and therefore the power to change the world as well. One person at the time. Small actions that inspire other people to change, to be more mindful and kind.
After many years, I’ve realized my own power, and its immense. I can choose for myself, I can create my values and act accordingly to them. I can be aware of my actions, even if they’re small and “insignificant” and know that even in a small way I am making a difference. I am going to be who I want to be, who I feel like I am beneath all the layers that I have put above. And I will make a difference.