Do You Wonder if You Can Make a Difference?
Like many of you, I watch or listen to the news, I grumble to myself and sometimes others about how bad things are, and always feel sad about the state of our world. Every day we hear news of public figures accused of wrong doing, we hear of shooting in public places and when we think we have seen and heard it all, we hear news that is more disturbing than the last report.
This came home to me again this morning when I learned that the hospital that my son works at was dealing with someone who said he had a gun and the Emergency Room was put on lock down. It ended with the man being shot as he reached for his gun. I wish this was unusual but it is not the first time his hospital was part of the news. It was not that long ago that they treated those involved in the Pulse shooting in Orlando. Sadly, it is beginning to feel commonplace.
In the coaching world we often say that if you want to take the emotional pulse of the people, all you have to do is look at the things that are happening in our world. I’m not alone when I wonder what it is that I can do to make this situation better. It does not matter what your spiritual practice is or even if you don’t have one, you can make a difference with every thought you think, every word you speak and every choice you make. What we think, say and do either helps our world or feeds the fear and uncertainty that people are feeling. On a daily basis, this is easier said than done; sometimes we need some ways to actually put this into practice.
Here are a few ideas from my book: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life – 52 Inspiring ways for YOU to take action
Kindness: Check in with your thoughts, are they kind even to the people and situations you don’t like? Can you be kind to the person in front of you who is being rude and judgmental? Our intention is not to be unkind, tell a lie, or give our unsolicited opinion, but sometimes, for many varied reasons, we just do. Perhaps if we could slow down to think before we act, it would greatly change how we respond to others. Perhaps, the best gift you can give yourself and others is to not judge them based on their current behavior.
Practice Forgiveness: It is easy to forgive others for small grievances, but much harder to forgive the bigger hurts and betrayals. If we are in the practice of forgiveness, we have the mindset that helps to seek understanding and opens the perspective to see an issue from another point of view. It is about being unwilling to hang on to the anger, and seeking peace.
Seek Understanding: All too often we are married to our ideas and opinions, and will voice them at every opportunity. At times we talk over others to be heard, and pay little attention to the impact our opinions make. If we can take a step back and listen with the intention to understand, we might find we are more alike than different.
Practice Compassion: It is easy for us to offer compassion to those whom we feel deserve it, but what about the people that we deem not worthy of it? God offers even those who are accused of the worst crimes compassion, who are we to judge who is worthy and who is not? Not knowing what the other has been through or is going through, what is the most generous story you can tell yourself and others about the situation?
Release Anger: Refuse to hold on to anger and hate. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much anger and hate we are hanging on to until it comes out in our words and actions. When our words and actions show anger or hate, remember that is what we are teaching others.
Take Responsibility: What if we could take responsibility for what we think and how we act? How do you think that would affect our personal and professional relationships? I think it would heal a lot of hurt, and diffuse much anger.
To live peacefully with ourselves and others, we must have alignment between our head and heart. When we understand that our words and actions have power, we can then chose to replace out negative with positive. Taking responsibility for our life is what each and every one of us can do to change the world around us.
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