Ever Wanted To Change The World? Here's How

Ever Wanted To Change The World? Here's How

It starts with you.
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You know that feeling when your heart sort of tingles?

When you just can’t help but smile a little bit, look down at your feet, and shake your head because maybe, just maybe this life is a good one?

Do you ever have the days that the sun seems to shine a bit brighter on the sidewalk you’re taking across campus, when your headphones are playing just the right song, and when you feel like there’s a little bit extra skip in your step?

It’s when you feel like the world is at your fingertips, like maybe for the very first time in your life, there is not a thing holding you back.

I think it’s the realization that life is short.

When you begin to feel the moments start to go by faster and the nostalgia set in on memories that you feel like you made yesterday. There is a bittersweet realization that has come to me recently. It is purpose, I think, or possibly a glimpse of hope rising up, or maybe just understanding.

But I can tell you one thing, I get it. I get the Pinterest quotes that say that you should live each moment, that you should be nice to people anyways. I get it when they say that you need to live each day like it is your last, and when an opportunity comes your way not to let it slip through your fingers.

Rather, make it count. Pay it forward. Be loud and be passionate. Break the silence about things that you believe in. Believe in things. Believe in yourself. Find your voice.

You will find as time goes on, that your voice is powerful. Use it for more than yelling at your siblings, talking back to your parents, gossiping with your best friends, or answering your teacher.

Use it to speak boldly to the world, to share your experiences with your little siblings, to learn from your parents, to grow closer to your best friends, or to ask more questions to your teacher.

Seek to understand the world. Be curious, adventurous. Ask the questions you want to know the answer to. Ask the questions that you already know the answer to, because chances are, someone else knows more.

Question the way the world works and work to make it a better place. Work for the future, for change and a brighter tomorrow. Be selfless because you won’t always get paid in money but rather smiles. They make you feel better anyways.

Stay humble. Imprint your name on someone’s thoughts, not on a trophy. Leave your mark on hearts, not on plaques. Change the way someone thinks about something you think strongly about because it will start a chain reaction.

I firmly believe that changing one person’s life changes the world, and you really never know what it will take to change a person’s life. It could be as easy as a smile that keeps them around another day, or the tip you left your waitress that was the last dollar she needed to pay her rent so she can live under a roof another month. Be nice to people. Hold the door. Talk to the cashier. Connect with them. You are not entitled to anything, and no one person is worth any less than you are. If you are lucky enough to eat at a restaurant, be polite to the waiter. If you have to call customer service, be patient because they don’t make the rules. Treat a CEO with the same respect as your hall janitor. Make conversation with people. Compliment strangers, build them up: it can do no harm.

Heck, be nice to the people who aren't nice to you, they need it the most. Can you imagine how many problems would be solved in the world if we talked to people instead of about people?

Listen to what someone says when you ask them a question. Ask them how they are, and mean it. If a friend asks you to pray for them, follow through with it. If they seem to be having a bad day, ask if there is anything you can do to help, and then do it. You have time somewhere in your schedule, I promise. You are never too busy to step back and remember the bigger picture and what really matters.

Be in the moment. Be where you are. Don’t wish you were somewhere else. To someone in that room, this could be their recharge for the day. If you’re in class, pay attention. Listen and learn. Someone spent a lot of time preparing for that class, so make it worth every penny.

Remember that education is an opportunity that very few people have access to, especially college. You are one of 1.3 percent of the world that gets to learn at this level. Don’t brush it off. Make smart decisions and use your time wisely. You’ll never be in an environment that has all this to offer ever again.

Remember to take time for yourself, though. Remember that amidst all this, you have one life. You can be scared and be down, but do it anyways.

And amidst it all, remember this analogy I heard:

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. They then proceed to ask you why you spilled your coffee, and you respond that it was because they bumped into you.

Wrong. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It's easy to fake it until you get rattled. So, we have to ask ourselves: “what's in my cup?" When life gets tough, what spills over?

It’s starting to make much more sense now. Life is so much more than the classes; its what we gain from the classes. Life is not the days, it is what we make of them; it is not the moments, but the joy we find in them.

When someone bumps into you, work to make sure that goodness, kindness, service, enthusiasm, empowerment, empathy, and authenticity spill over the rim.

We can each change the world, I promise you. It is inside of you. You have to find it. Make your mark, feel the skip in your step, the sun on your skin, the world at your finger tips, and then go grab it.

Cover Image Credit: Erika Glover

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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4 Ways Clutter Is Negatively Affecting Your Health

Clutter affects your physical, emotional, and psychological health.

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If you're aware that your cluttered space is causing you stress and discomfort, it might be helpful to understand how and why clutter affects our health. When we clear our space we are more likely to feel at ease, relaxed, and tranquil. There is no better time to freshen your space than at the start of the new year when we are already setting new intentions and re-assessing goals and putting new ideas into motion.

1. Clutter produces dust and exacerbates allergies

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsg5egmBSjq/

Have you ever gone through your closet or bookshelf, only to see the visible layers of dust and dirt that were hidden behind your items? Clutter gives dust and other environmental fibers a place to accumulate. If you find yourself sneezing, coughing, or tired and fatigued in your space, it might be time to de-clutter - your itchy eyes will thank you!

2. Lack of organization in your belongings leads to stress and anxiety

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I know I'm not the only one who has had the experience of needing an item before running out the door, only to realize it wasn't where you left it...and now you need to tear apart your entire room looking for it. Sound familiar? Having too much clutter leads to a disorganized space that provokes anxiety and stress and can have a strong, negative impact on your day to day life. Whoever came up with, "a place for everything and everything in its place" was definitely onto something.

3. Clutter puts your nervous system in overdrive

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Cluttered environments are taxing on the nervous system. The sensory overload prevents us from being able to relax and rest, and keeps us activated in our sympathetic nervous system, AKA "fight or flight". This means we're more likely to be on edge and hyper-aware than calm and relax when at home.

4. Living in a cluttered space impacts your mood and self-esteem

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsg_VkiAoBU/

Our brains thrive off of order and organization. When things are disordered and chaotic around us, it's natural to feel irritable and frustrated in response, lowering mood and reducing our self-esteem and self-worth. Rather than thinking about the things you want to get rid of when de-cluttering, focus on what things you want to keep and what you want to have in your immediate environment.

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