I Can Make A Difference

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy

Image courtesy of Aurelia Kate Chaney

I WANT to make a difference in this world. I have no doubt there are others who have the same want. Maybe you do, as well. I am no different from you, him, her, or them. Ever since I realized the profound impact a human life makes on this planet, the Universe, but also within humanity, my soul’s mission is to change the world; to leave it a better place than when I found it. To meet a person, familiar or not, and leave him/her in a better “place” than when I met them.

My soulful need is guided by the wonderful lessons by our ancestors. For instance, many of you may hold dear the what Mother Teresa taught (and lived),“If everyone only cleaned their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.” This wonder edict reminds me that my first priority is to change my ways and beliefs; to clean my own doorstep, before I can have a positive influence on others. How can others trust in my sincerity and integrity, if I don’t trust myself? How can I love others, if I can’t love myself? If I want to see a positive change in the world and others, I first have to change within to achieve.

Love, hope, and compassion are contagions. If people continually spread and effect others with love, hope, and compassion, then the world then changes as a result; it is not the other way around. We can’t just continue to be negative, destructive, and hateful and expect the world to change people. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” So, as my soul commands, I am.

This concept probably seems so noble and bighearted to some … you know, the want to change the world. It’s not about making huge differences so that people shower me with praise and adoration. It isn’t about living perfect lives to make a perfect world, for me its about living a positive life to affect the world in a positive way. It’s about reversing the negative momentum that seems to be guiding our planet into a course of direction that leads to positive changes … no matter how big or small the impact.

There is a terrific story of old which sums it up nicely:

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The Starfish Story

There’s a story of a man throwing starfishes into the sea, which I’ll do my best to remember for you here:

An elderly man was walking along the beach, admiring the beautiful view. As he walked, he noticed that a large group of starfishes had been washed ashore by the receding tide, and they were struggling to get back to the water. The man was saddened by this turn of events, but accepted that there was nothing he could do to change anything.

The man walked on, continuing to notice the large numbers of helpless starfishes, until he saw another man in the distance standing at the water’s edge amongst the starfishes. Curious, the elderly man walked over to him, wandering what he was up to.

As he got closer, the elderly man could see that the younger man was picking up starfishes, one by one, and throwing them back out into the sea. Astonished, the elderly man got close enough for the other man to hear him, and then he called out.

“Hey! What on earth are you doing?”

The younger man turned to him and smiled, then turned back to the sea, still continuing his duty of picking up and throwing starfishes.

“I’m helping these starfishes get back into the ocean.”

The elderly man couldn’t believe it, why was this man wasting his time throwing starfishes back? There were thousands of them here, it would take him days! He voiced his thoughts.

“Why are you throwing them back? There’s thousands of them here, it’ll take you forever! How can you possibly hope to make a difference to these starfishes?”

Remaining calm, the younger man continued his duty without looking at the elderly man. Just as he threw another starfish back into the ocean, he replied.

“I made a difference to that one.”

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Over the past months and years the changes I have seen manifest in my life and surrounding environment are my testament. I love my life. It is the testament to the change that has taken place within me and the concepts I share in this post. I share it as I believe others can an do the same with their own lives. The more, the merrier, the better our universe and the world we live in.

So what changes have I implemented in my life? Here are a couple that I find have been and are the most transforming in my life:

Practice Forgiveness!

All of the conflict in my world has been due to misunderstandings, lack of clear communication, and fear. Fear of losing out, fear of being controlled, fear of looking weak, fear of the unknown.

By becoming more forgiving, I have seen a LOT of positive transformations in my life. It began with forgiving myself. If we as a whole could practice forgiveness more often, and forgive not only ourselves, but anyone who has wronged us, rather than seek revenge, nurture resentment, or cultivate hate, conflict in the world would diminish.

Give Up Complaining!

I started by challenging myself to go one day without complaining.  Being somewhat head-strong, when I was able to do that then I did the same thing the next day.  Eventually, before I knew it, the habit of complaining was no longer there. Yes, complaining, I believe, is a habit that is learned. It is also a habit that can be broken. Without a doubt, we all know of the world’s problems – gluttoness destruction of nature, terrorism, recessions, etc., but what are we actually doing about it? From my perspective, I see the majority of society doing nothing but complain.

Complaining is an easy way out. Action requires effort. As much as it may seem to be an enjoyable release to complain, it, too, is a contagion, and will make us complain more. The result is complainers become more run-down and depressed. Complaining leads to more complaining, the spiral runs on, and nothing ever gets done.

Try forgiving and and not complaining for one day. If you see a difference, try it the next day, and so on and so on. Believe me, there will be days where challenges and conflicts arise, but instead of complaining about them, focus on solving them in a positive way. If you can’t solve them and there is no positive solution, let it go, and move on.

My most beloved mother-in-law taught me a powerful prayer that I often use in my daily living:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Simple as that … and it works! I want to change the world in a positive way, but it can only happen as I continually change myself in a positive way, too.   It requires action, effort.  My life here on Earth is limited and when I leave I want my testament to be of compassion, gratitude, happiness, harmony, hope, honesty, kindness, optimism, peace, and serenity … and most of all a testament of love.

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