There’s no end to the social outrage over the state of the world today. No one who’s paying attention needs a reminder of the incidents of social oppression, bigotry, -isms and self-righteousness that shows up in social and mainstream media every day.
A few are expressing their outrage in bold action.
Witness the record number of women and minorities who, in the face of the current wave of misogyny, racism, and nationalism decided to run for and win public office. Many of these brave souls never previously considered public service – they had held everyday jobs, or were busy raising a family. But they reached a breaking point with feelings of outrage and repression, and decided to take matters into their own hands.
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me” is more or less the thought form that led them to move beyond their comfortable and familiar corners of the world and decide to lead rather than remain part of the silent masses any longer. They stepped into creating campaigns, recruiting supporters, going door-to-door to ask people for votes, raising campaign donations – activities with which they had no previous experience. And it worked! Others who felt a similar sense of disconnect from the social and political status quo showed up in droves. Many even violated their traditional political party affiliations to vote for change.
And then, there are the others.
You know the ones. Those who publicly decry their outrage in the form of social media posts, and embrace the language of wrongness; also known as giving voice to their harsh judgments.
We should, they should, you should. We need to, they need to, you need to. They are, you are. Those who spend hours each day posting social media memes and articles that support their point of view; and making disrespectful, rude or even hateful comments on others’ posts with whom they disagree. Those who would rather engage the drama of complaining about the status quo than even begin to think about taking action to “be the change they wish to see in the world“.
(Actually, I am aware of the attitude of wrongness I’m exhibiting in writing this. But stick with me here; I’m about to make my point.)
We are drawn to action; and tend to be repelled by complaining.
Martin Luther King. Mahatma Ghandi. Mother Theresa. Harvey Milk. Nelson Mandela. These are well-known leaders whose childhoods looked similar to those around them. But at some point they decided – as did the new brave souls we mentioned earlier – that they must act to improve the lot of their brothers and sisters. They stepped forward boldly to organize and lead coalitions that rocked the world. They ignited a bonfire of hope among millions of people who had grudgingly capitulated to being oppressed, and confined to society’s trash heap.
Servant leadership is like that. Many people will follow leaders who boldly step into leadership for positive change for the many; and speak passionately about their vision. In the US political arena, Bernie Sanders is a another fine example.
Not all of us are cut out to be bold leaders.
But all of us can do something beyond complaining. If we never ask “what can I do to contribute to the changes I wish to see” then we are likely to be drawn into the hopelessness, despair and outrage with the status quo. When we empower ourselves to make just one little contribution, it lights a fire within us that overrides the oppression of the status quo.
What can I do?
I live in a happy little cocoon on the other side of the world from my homeland. But living far away doesn’t immunize me to the problems there; or elsewhere in the world. Yes, I see your distress, America. Yes, I appreciate the gravity of change people in Great Britain will soon encounter with Brexit. How can one ignore the immense suffering and refugee crises in the Middle East?
I write to inspire us all to embrace the personal development path leading to profound happiness and meaning. That’s my contribution to change. I transformed from suffering, self-hatred, depression, and near-suicide to an amazing lifestyle that leads me to envy exactly no one. When I look back on how that transformation occurred, I realize there were many beliefs, concepts and practices I embraced along the way. I came to understand that happiness does not come from whatever situation I find myself in – good or bad. It comes from within. And, as such, it’s available to everyone as it is to me. I am on a mission to share the self-development concepts that worked for me with others; to put an end to suffering among those who I can reach.
So then. What can you do? What do you do?
I’d love to have you respond to this post with what you’re actively doing to create a greater world. Maybe making phone calls for a political candidate you believe in. Possibly writing your congressman. Maybe standing up to bigoted remarks when they appear in your grocery store. Possibly attending community organizing meetings, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Just something. Anything, really. Every little contribution adds to a positive shift in the ways of the world.
My idea is that if more of us made the shift from complaining about what we don’t want to see, to taking action toward creating the world we want it would be earth-shattering.
Will you join me?