Posts tagged love
15 Things You Can Do Everyday To Make The World A Better Place
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If you’re anything like me, you have anxiety because you’re constantly faced with all of the horrible, negative, and overwhelming issues that need a savior. And again, if you’re like me and have a savior complex and you want to heal everyone you meet and restore peace to the world, then these problems that are bigger than you end up making you feel powerless and guilty that you’re not doing anything.

Well… I am here to tell you that you’re lying to yourself if you don’t believe you can do anything to make the world a better place. If everyone did even one of these things, then the problem would be solved. Even you don’t believe that anyone else is doing these things so it won’t make a difference, you’re wrong. Plenty of people are and plenty more will after watching you. The real problem is that people do not know HOW to change the world or what role they’re meant to play in that change. Well… here are 25 actions you can take every single day to make that change happen. Again, hate and fear is not overcome with more hate and fear. It is overcome with love.

  1. Notice the Invisible

    This is one that really hurts my heart because it is so easy to do, yet so few do it. If you’re unaware, the invisible are the folks in society who are unseen or even looked down upon for various reasons even though I would argue that they are the most important sector of society because they keep it moving forward.

    These are your custodians, your security guards, your homeless, your veterans, your refugees, your immigrants, your community members with disabilities, and any other population that doesn’t have a voice. They are overlooked and often even looked down upon.

    All you have to do to make this world a better place is notice them. Have conversations with them free of judgement. Get to know them. Whoever they are, they are a human being and connecting with a person that is so used to not being seen is so magical. It is healing for both of you. Pay attention to who is around you, thank them for their service/community involvement, and send them love.

  2. Listen

    And listen actively. To actively listen all you have to do is

    1. Not interrupt the person who is speaking

    2. Not be thinking of what you’re going to say next before they are done speaking

    3. Think about what they said before you respond

    4. Entertain their ideas without adopting them to really see what they’re saying from their viewpoint

    5. Respond respectfully

    That’s it. That’s all you have to do to make the world a better place. Listen. Everyone wants their ideas to be heard. If you want people to listen to yours you need to listen to theirs. You need to be open minded to their ideas. You do not have to adopt them or agree with them, but you need to consider that they might be right, they probably have valid thoughts and opinions, and that their experiences are worth listening to. This is how you build empathy and empathy is what makes the world a better place.

  3. Be thoughtful

    Take a second to step out of your world and think about what you can do for others to make them feel happy. This can be a small thing. You can compliment them (on something they CAN change like their clothes or a speech they gave, not their eyes), you can write them a thank you card, or you can ask them how they’re doing or how their family is doing in a sincere way (not in a small-talk way).

    I keep candy in my office and I printed out stickers of my bitmoji saying random things that I put on the candy and I pass them out randomly or when I feel the office is getting negative. Little things like that really make a huge difference. Imagine if everyone did that.

    If you see a person struggling, help. If you notice a person is sad, talk to them. I know this is uncomfortable, talking to strangers is so so so hard for me, too. But this is how you change the world. This is how you convince people that people are good and we don’t need laws that are written based on fear, because we don’t have anything to be afraid of. If you want your community to be a thoughtful place you need to be thoughtful.

  4. Educate yourself

    Going off of number 3, nobody can tell me that we need to be afraid of immigrants for any reason because there is NO evidence that supports that. None. There IS in fact TONS of evidence that suggests how immigrants are great for the economy, how immigrants commit less crimes than natural-born citizens, and that immigrants want what all American’s want… the American Dream.

    I can stand firm on all of my beliefs because I read A LOT. And I educate myself. I read pieces from all viewpoints and then I make my opinion. This makes the world a better place. I can check someone who is making the world a worse place with facts and I can protect those invisible populations I mentioned earlier with my voice because I have the facts to back up my opinions. And this can just be a done a little every day. You can listen to podcasts while you drive to work and get read in the morning or read two articles before you scroll through Facebook. Every little bit can help.

  5. Manifest positivity

    Yes, educating yourself is SUPER important, but as you’re learning remember to focus on the solutions and what others are doing instead of the problem itself. It’s like if you have a leaky sink, you can sit there and stare at it and let it fill you with overwhelm, or you can figure out how to fix it and look up how others are fixing their sinks, and take steps to fixing it. If we all only focus on the problem it is only going to create more problems because it will be attracting more negativity. As Mother Theresa said:

    “I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.”

    Shift from being anti-hate to pro-love and you will make the world a much better place. Whatever we put our focus on grows. If we focus on money, our wealth will grow. If we focus on our families, our relationships will grow. If we focus on love, love will grow.

  6. Stop buying stuff

    This is the one time that I will say you can change the world by doing nothing. Until you’re a smart consumer or until you have the resources to buy ethically, stop buying things. I don’t buy clothes because they’re made is sweatshops and I can’t afford to buy ethically-made clothes. I don’t eat fast food because it produces so much waste and uses so much water and is not healthy so what’s the point? I try to only buy what I need and even then I try to buy what I can as ethically as possible. Is ALL of my food organic? No, organic has it’s problems anyways. Do I only produce enough waste to fit in a mason jar like these people on documentaries? No, I can’t afford to grow all of my own food in the Arizona desert or buy all of my food from Whole Foods.

    I am not asking you to feel guilty about what you can’t do, but most likely there are plenty of things you are buying that you don’t need to, like paper towels, toilet paper with the cardboard insert, buy tiny little things on amazon that use soooooo much packaging (I am super guilty of this). Do what you can.

  7. Stop wasting stuff

    Again, do what you can. Compost your left overs (I recommend using worms and wrote a post on how), recycle what you have to buy, reuse what you can (I paint my food containers and use them as pots for my plants), turn off the lights when you leave a room, don’t have a lawn unless it grows naturally, plant native plants as your landscaping decor, donate what you no longer use instead of throwing it out, fix broken stuff instead of buying new, etc. There are so many things you can do to stop waste.

    One American has the same ecological footprint as THIRTY-THREE Kenyans. We can do better!

  8. Get to know your neighbors

    Again, getting to know strangers is so scary for me like FOR REAL… but change starts within your community and for that you need to actually have a community. HOW you do this really depends on your community, but walking my dogs helps me at least be able to say hi to others on walks. I might research the art of this more and write another post on it.

  9. Plant a garden

    Preferably in your front yard. AND if you’ve been composting like I said, you can do this super easy! There is so much research supporting the effectiveness of social norms. If your neighbors see you planting a garden, they’ll plant one too. The BEST part about growing your own food is that is has a NEGATIVE ecological footprint (so it will breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen), you’ll know EXACTLY where it came from and what chemicals were used to grow it, it’s FREE to eat, and you’ll get like a million seeds to keep planting more of them! I literally just google everything “how to grow a tomato plant from a seed I saved” or whatever and you’ll get all the info you need!

  10. Join a cause

    ANY cause. I don’t care what it is. Problems are persisting because of apathy, not because of scale. We can solve anything. We can DO anything. But you have to actually start doing something. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, you can always offer your time. Time is actually the most valuable thing you can offer. You can volunteer and change a child’s life, a victim’s life, an animal’s life, really any life. And if you help even one, you’ve made the world a better place.

    PLUS studies also show that volunteering is a better method for reducing depression and anxiety than medication. DON’T go off your medication, but volunteering, I’ve realized, is the missing ingredient that helps make all of us feel whole and like we’re apart of something. It makes us feel like we belong.

  11. Love yourself

    In order to send good vibes, you need to have good vibes. Repeat after me in the mirror “You’re worthy. You’re intelligent. You’re beautiful. You’re capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to. People love you. People need you. You are a gift”. Every day. Repeat it until you believe it.

  12. Focus on Joy

    This is different than manifesting positivity. Joy is that childlike sense of wonder. It’s ecstasy. It’s feeling good and happy. I think society focuses so much on “being happy” like it’s a place we can fly to. Instead of focusing on happiness as the opposite of suffering, focus on joy. How can you put more joy into your life? How can you put more joy into your family’s life? How can you bring joy to everyone you meet? Maybe you have a great sense of humor, maybe you know how to make any activity fun, or maybe you’ll have to think long and hard about the role joy plays in your life. Unless joy is playing the largest role in your life, you should try to improve that. A good starting place is to read the Book of Joy.

  13. Give

    Give blood. Be an organ donor. Be a charitable donor if you can. If you can’t, give your time. Give your love. Give your attention. Give whatever resources you have to those that need it.

  14. Be empathic, not sympathetic

    Empathy is recognizing the suffering in someone else. Sympathy is feeling the suffering of someone else. If you’re arm is broken, and I break my arm to make you feel better, I’ve simply made the problem much worse. But that doesn’t mean I have to discredit your pain because I don’t feel it myself. The thing about suffering is… it’s about the sufferer. If you hurt someone, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t. If you can heal someone, heal them, even if it’s just by listening to their story and acknowledging their pain. This doesn’t mean that as an empath I don’t cry when I watch news of Syria or immigrants or refugees. I do. It means that I’m not going to see their pain and feel powerless. I’m not going to feel this devastation and let it debilitate me. I am going to do whatever I can to ease the suffering, and I am not going to feel anxiety about the suffering I can’t end. It is a proactive mindset.

15. Stop microaggressions

Whether its you causing them, or you overhear them, stop. Be politically correct. If you ignorantly say something that is not politically correct and someone rightfully corrects you, apologize.

Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”

You can read plenty of examples of microaggressions here . Long story short, don’t stereotype. Don’t do or say something to someone solely based on their race, gender, abilities, etc. Most importantly, if you’re checked for doing/saying one, apologize.

Those who are bullied, bully. Those who are broken, break. Those who have healed, heal.

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12 Things People With Depression Want You To Know
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This is the most honest post I have written thus far, but something is telling me that while I now have the energy to write this I should because if the people around me who are depressed, and myself, are feeling this way, many more people probably are too. Depression is something I've been struggling with my whole life and I am just now starting to tell people about it. It runs in my family on both sides. I'm not trying to speak for everyone with this post, but if you know someone with depression keep these things in mind. 

1. We are not asking you to be our life coach

This is the most important and why I'm putting it as number one. We do not need to hear that we need to exercise, eat better, think positively, break up with our partner, use more self-care, or literally any piece of advice you found in a self-help book. Those are all wonderful suggestions for people who are sad and they can help snap you out of a sad mindset. Depression is not an emotion - it is an illness. You would not tell someone with a broken leg to walk it off or positively think about having a healed leg and it'll happen. All you're going to do by suggesting these things is cause us to shame ourselves when we're not exercising or eating well and that is the last emotion we need. This brings me to my next point. 

2. Give compliments instead of advice

We need to hear what a great job we're doing even if all we did was get out of bed. Believe me, we are shaming ourselves way more than you ever could so instead of suggesting what we should do to fix this illness as if you're a doctor, give compliments on the victories, both small and large. We need support. A LOT of support. 

3. We don't want to talk about it, but we need to

And we need you to help us talk about it. While there are many times when we just simply do not have the energy to talk about how we're feeling (and that needs to be respected as well) if you're a person who is a close friend or family member keep asking them to talk about it. Ask them to find a way of communication that's easier than talking if necessary like writing it, texting it, painting it, whatever. And no matter what do not dismiss or invalidate our feelings or that is the last time we'll open up to you. 

4. It is very hard to make decisions

While we very much have good days where it will seem like nothing is wrong and we can function completely "normally" (whatever that means), on our not-so-good-days deciding where to eat or what movie to see can be so stressful. At least for me, on these days I just want to follow and feel the happy energy of those with me who are eating what they want and watching what they want and if I had an honest choice in mind I would say so. Don't get frustrated if we seem indecisive we're struggling to just be social. 

5. We need your patience

If you've prayed for patience recently, God probably blessed you with a depressed loved one. Our mood swings are frequent, especially if we're not on medication, and we have ZERO control over them. The thing about depression is that we don't get to choose our emotions if we feel any at all. Even if I know I have nothing to be anxious about, it doesn't make the feeling go away and knowing that I shouldn't feel what I'm feeling brings the shame, which triggers the depression. We need you to be patient and kind and to reassure us that you do not see us any differently for feeling what we do. 

6. We don't want to be treated differently

Besides some extra kindness and patience, we don't want to be treated any differently than anyone else, just like a person who broke their leg would not either. We don't need you to treat us like children or walk on eggshells around us afraid of triggering or worsening our condition. Treating us differently is a trigger in itself because it reinforces that we aren't "normal" and we internalize it and convince ourselves that we're antisocial. Just relax and be yourself and we'll be ourselves. 

7. Never, ever judge

Never, ever, ever, ever. People with depression are still creating miracles everyday by pushing through and being extremely productive, and caring, and living their life to the point where most people probably did not even know we had depression. People are usually shocked when I tell them I do because there's this stigma that if you're depressed you can't do great things and boy is that stigma wrong. It just takes more energy for me to do it than someone who is not. People with depression are strong and capable and if we forget, remind us. 

8. Finding the right medication can take years

And some of us cannot or do not want to take medication. We want you to know this because there's this idea that depression works like pharmaceutical commercials where one day we're sadly looking out the window at our kids playing in the yard from our beds we can't get out of and then we take a pill and the next day we're laughing and pushing them on a swing. That's not real life. Depression is an illness that we have to live with every single day and even with medication, all of the symptoms may not disappear and medication can bring on other side effects as well. If your loved one is going through this process, again, be patient and don't hope that one day it'll all go away because they might be living with good and bad days their whole life. And you know what? THAT'S OKAY. 

9. If we cancel plans last minute it's not personal

Especially if those plans are made in advance. The work day might have taken more energy than we anticipated when we made the plans in the first place and we may not have any left to offer you. Cancelling plans and staying home is often a method of self-care. Isolation is also a symptom of depression so if you feel like your loved one is cancelling ALL plans all the time, they may need help. But don't get angry when it happens, we're just trying to keep our life force energy battery from dying. 

10. Pay attention

If you know someone who is depressed you need to pay attention to signs of suicide. I wrote a post "8 Urban Myths of Depression and How to Really Help" that goes over little things you can do to help, and it also outlines the signs of suicide. I won't be redundant and repeat it here, but they are there for you to read. 

11. Never call us...

Paranoid, crazy, insane, insecure, ridiculous, stupid, or any of the synonyms. We internalize it. Besides, in order for something to be crazy, there must be a normal, and normal doesn't exist so lose the expectations. Also never ask "why are you depressed?". It can't be answered. 

Also, stop using mental disorders as adjectives. Words matter and if a teacher says "that's insane" to something negative, a person with mental illness can internalize that and see mental illness as a negative instead of an illness. It's the same as calling negative things "gay". 

12. Depression isn't sadness

So I know I've touched on this the whole entire post, but this is what the public doesn't understand. This is why you don't ask "why are you depressed". You can answer why you're sad because there's a reason. Sadness is an emotion that is caused by an event of some sort. Depression is an illness caused by genetics, blocks to chakras, upbringing, and a million other possibilities that are unknown because scientists don't actually know why. I'm not depressed because I failed an exam or because it's been cloudy for too long. If I knew why, I could fix it easily and if I could fix it I would. Again, IF WE COULD FIX IT WE WOULD. 

Question for those of you with depression: would you add anything to this list?

 

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What To Do Now... Love

I fell asleep last night before the results came in. I knew I needed to fall asleep before if I was going to get any sleep at all. I also have been saying for the past few weeks to everyone around me not only that I could handle whatever outcome came from the election, but that they also don't need to panic. People generally have good hearts and we don't need to live in fear.

When I saw the news this morning I was in shock. I didn't think it was going to hurt as much as it did. I laid in bed for 45 minutes and I cried for probably a good 15 minutes. I didn't cry because "I lost", I was going to lose regardless of who was elected. I cried because I began thinking of all of the people who are going to have their lives permanently and negatively impacted by this result.

Then I remembered... that was going to happen regardless of who became elected. The fight wasn't going to be over with one presidential election. In fact, I would argue, the fight can finally begin. Think of how many people woke up this morning with a similar story to mine. When I was driving to work I pulled up next to a man weeping in his car. If this outcome didn't happen, I truly don't believe there would be enough outrage for any sort of action to take place against the establishment.

So now it's time to fight. And no, I do not mean go get your musket and lets start the second American revolution. That will never work, the government has drones now and we don't stand a chance. With this fight we need to pull out every resource we have with one focus, love.

Stay with me here. Whether you supported Trump or Sanders or Stein or Johnson they all had one thing in common, they wanted to take on the establishment. Regardless of who you voted for, that is one thing we all had in common, one thing we can all get behind. If you want this country to be a country filled with love and solidarity then you need to be the change you wish to see. You need to love everyone in your community, including those who may disagree with you. You cannot fight hate with hate and win. You cannot fight hate with force and win. The only way to defeat hate is with love. And that is how we are going to get through this. That is how we are going to win.

So many people say they're so upset that hate won. It triumphed last night and now they're terrified. Well I hate to break it to you, but the hate started a long time ago, and this election gave it a megaphone ON BOTH SIDES. If you deleted friends because you couldn't stand their political posts, you took part in the hate. If you said "I cannot be friends with a Trump/Clinton supporter" you took part in the hate. If you thought that Trump was going to be the reason why this country was going to be filled with hate, you forgot to look in the mirror.

This country is going to be filled with hate because we are going to fail to drown out the hate speech with love. The only way we can win this war against hate, against the current establishment, and against the status quo is if we all come together and love in solidarity. From now on, everything you say and everything you do needs to be coming from a place of love or do not say it and do not do it or the enemy will win.

I now realize it wasn't the election result that had me crying this morning, it's the divide I now feel in my community and in this country. So go and love your enemies and start the love revolution with me. And to everyone who is afraid I'm asking you to trust us and to join us, we will not let hate win. Straighten up soldier... there's work to be done.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time. And always one more time. - Maya Angelou