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Have you ever wondered how you can make the world a better place? Or stressed over not being able to make ENOUGH of a difference. Well, here’s a reminder that it’s the small things that count. And that your life matters.
Once upon a time I wanted to change the world. But truth was until I took care of myself I was no good to anyone. The world even.
I was so eager make a difference, to help others, to make people happy, I just felt like I just wasn’t doing enough. Constantly feeling inadequate and comparing myself to all the amazing change makers I was surrounded by (and they were and still are INCREDIBLE), I exhausted myself in comparisons and feelings of inadequacy and FOMO. Truth is I was a huge people pleaser, always putting others before myself and my family. But that’s a story for another day…
And then I realised the mistake I’d been making.
No disrespect to the big thinkers, thought leaders and game changers, but personally I was aiming too big. I’d missed the point completely.
Baby steps. Small changes. Daily moments of kindness. LITTLE things. That’s what mattered.
When I started focussing on myself. On being the most authentic and real person I could be. On being someone who was healthy (both physically and mentally), who was doing what she loved with people she loved, and who wasn’t overdoing things by people pleasing and trying to be something she wasn’t – that was when I realised I could make a difference in the world in my own way.
There’s so much shit going on in the world, we can’t make everything better on our own.
And most of us simply don’t have the money, connections or resources to do so. Now there’s a depressing thought. But it needn’t be, because in our own way, we can help to make the world a better place. AND it doesn’t have to cost an airfare to a 3rd world country, a direct debit a month, or even an arm, a leg or a kidney.
Here’s 50 Small Ways You Can Help Make the World a Better Place
- Volunteer for a cause
- Compliment someone on how they look, be it how happy they seem, how bright-eyed they our, how awesome their outfit is…
- Give an elderly person some of your time. Sit, talk, listen, hold their hand, make eye contact, and give them a hug
- Allow someone else their time to shine – if you’ve got your eye on a leadership or managerial position take note of this one especially. If you don’t, still do it. I love seeing people SHINE!
- Recycle – Sheran Dempster
- Cook someone a hearty meal, either in person or leave it on their door step
- Travel respectfully
- Give someone a hug – try to maintain the connection for 12 seconds. That makes for an awesome hug
- Declutter and donate
- Have everyone give their co workers at lest one compliment a day – @just_anxious
- Be kind to yourself, and learn to look after and love yourself. Until you love yourself you’re no good to anyone. Learn to practice self-care – here’s 64 simple ideas to help and inspire you to care for yourself first
- Make eye contact with others
- Respect others at all times, no matter who they are. This includes homeless people, employees, cleaners the people who make your coffee in the morning
- Simply smile and say hello to everyone you pass on the street – Lucy Patterson
- Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. All the time – @kidatheart63
- Secretly send someone money in an envelope when they are in need. Someone did this for me last year when I was going through a hard time. You naughty someone. Thank you
- Investigate where things you buy are actually made and try to buy things from companies who produce ethically
- Put your phone away and focus on what or who is in front of you
- Everyone should learn to say ‘thank you’ for every small act of kindness they receive, and say it like they mean it – Corinne Rodrigues
- Tell someone they did a good job. Better yet, tell their boss
- Don’t listen to, or participate in, gossip (bloody hard to do…but it’s good for the soul and makes life so much more simpler!)
- Don’t buy trashy magazines or click on click-bait headlines (I KNOW it’s a challenge!)
- Show someone how to do something. Pass on your knowledge!
- Give gifts without the expectation of anything in return
- Do what you love. That alone will inspire others
- Share your own story of survival (because we’ve all fought our own battles that will strike a chord with someone else in the world). Here’s part of mine. Jane says “there is always someone worse off than you. Be grateful”
- Don’t litter
- If someone makes a mistake, stuffs up, gives you the wrong coffee, forgets to add sauce to your hot dog, don’t chide them. Tell them its ok. Everyone makes mistakes
- Spend uninterrupted time with a child. Give them your 100% focus
- Read and tell positive stories, stories of hope and love – @nabanita21
- Donate blood or plasma
- Create art. Paint, sculpt, write a poem, produce a beautiful song. Share it with the world… or just one special person.
- Pay it forward – Suzannah Taylor
- Send a letter, email, tweet or message out of the blue
- Listen without passing judgement
- Smiles, pleases and thank you’s 🙂 – @normal_ness. Express gratitude often. Personally, I like to make gratitude a habit!
- Please pick up your dog poop (my personal pet peeve!)
- Life is short. Look after your family and close friends, those you love, and to cap it all off, be more considerate to others, whether you know them or not – D (my husband)
- Decrease your use of plastic
- Give up your seat to someone on a bus, train, or when waiting for something
- Drive intelligently. It’s not a race. And put away your phone. You don’t need it when you drive – Denis Defontaine
- Adopt a rescue pet
- Don’t judge others, especially by what you do and don’t see on Facebook. You have no idea what is really going on in someone’s life until you have walked a day in the life of their shoes
- Sprinkle kindness around like it’s fairy dust. Random acts are the best 🙂
- Give your pet your full attention. After all, they give you their life, give them a chunk of yours
- Mentor or coach someone for free
- Ask someone how they are, mean it, and wait for AND listen to their response
- Focus on the good
- State things constructively so we problem-solve and not form habits of avoidance/depression. i.e. “don’t run inside = please walk inside, run outside”, “Don’t make a mess = let’s take care of the dinner table”, “Don’t forget = please remember” – Kat Yew
- Educate yourself. Learn about other cultures, faiths, ideas, languages, people, history…
Just think about it – if we all did one small thing, even if it was only every now and then, imagine the impact we could have on the world!
*A huge thank you to my followers who contributed some awesome ideas on how they would make the world a better place in a small way
Kindnessmake the world a better placeMaking a difference
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A mentor and storyteller who believes in using blogging and social media to do good. A mental health advocate who shares her personal story of depression, anxiety, burn out and self-care to inspire others.
7 Ways to Make the World a Better Place
Author: E.C. LaMeaux
The idea of changing the world can be daunting. It's not only easy but understandable to think, "I’m only one person; what can I really do?" If every person thinks that, nothing will get done. But if every person did just one thing to make the world a better place today, billions of acts of kindness, social responsibility and generosity would take place — and wouldn’t that alone change the face of this planet?
Helen Keller said, "I am only one, but still I am one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and just because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." That is the attitude in which authors Linda Catling and Jeffery Hollender wrote the book How to Make the World a Better Place: 116 Ways You Can Make a Difference. Here is a list of some of their ideas, and a few others, on how to make the world a better place one small action at a time.
1. Volunteer your time at local schools
Whether you have a school-age child or not, children are the future of this world. Spend time helping them reach their potential by tutoring, mentoring or taking part in an after-school program.
2. Recognize the humanity of other people, and respect their dignity
Consciously realize that the homeless man you pass on the street every day is, in fact, a man. Through choices of his own or circumstances out of his control, he ended up in this situation, and that makes him no less human. Say hello and warmly greet him. Your greeting could bring healing to his heart, and help heal the world one person at a time. Treat people as equals, no matter how you interpret their social standing.
3. Use less paper
Our forests are being cut down at an alarming rate. Conserve the trees by conserving paper. Send an e-mail instead of a letter, type directions into your cell phone instead of writing them down, and bring your own fabric shopping bags to the store.
4. Drive less
Even the use of hybrid vehicles contributes to carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and reduced air quality. Take a moment to consider how you can use your personal vehicle less. You could carpool or take public transportation to work, walk to church, or bike to pick up a few things from the store and make the world a better place.
5. Conserve water
Taking long showers and letting the water run as you brush your teeth are indulgences that negatively impact our world. Try to limit your water usage by timing how long you have the water running, and trying to beat that time the next time you turn on the faucet.
6. Donate to clean water charities
A large portion of the world is without fresh drinking water. Educate yourself about the drought epidemic, and make the world a better place by donating to organizations and charities helping to fight against the lack of clean water around the globe. Your donation could result in the reduction of preventable, water-related diseases.
7. Be generous
It's easy to be selfish with your time, money, and resources by getting caught up in our material-driven societal expectations. Try being generous and see how your life changes. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks, read to children at your local library, or simply stop and listen for the answer when you ask a friend how they're doing. Chances are that your generosity will energize you, and you'll feel less helpless about how to make the world a better place.