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.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. 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 that people live in between 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 or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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The Path To Self Love

It's a beautiful and hard journey but the reward is so worth it

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Like many of us, I tend to rely on other people and their opinions way more than my own. Stopping that? It's easier said than done but it's possible. You'll never fully be able to stop caring about what other people think but you can care a little less. How?

Building up your self-worth and confidence. That task is probably one of the hardest ones that I've ever had to tackle and am still figuring out.

Loving yourself can mean so many different things but at the end of the day it really means just being able to be your own happiness. So many people rely on others for happiness instead of themselves. That's just not it. We do this to ourselves but what happens when that person or group of people leave us? Then our happiness that was revolved around being with them is all gone. I've learned this life lesson the hard way and while it hurt like hell, I needed that. I had to learn that if I can't be happy by myself then I'll never fully be happy.

Sydney Mergler

Now, I know body positivity is becoming a thing right now but that doesn't change the fact that people still don't always feel one-hundred percent confident in their body. I personally have been struggling with my body image for years and finally have started to work on it for me. Not because I hate my body now, but because I want to get fit for me. It's been a struggle figuring this out and it's taken me years but I finally know what my end goal is and am working towards that. I know it's going to take me a while to reach it but at least I'm working towards a goal now and loving it at the same time. In fact, I feel so much more confident because of it.

Toxic friendships? Just break them. Do yourself a favor and don't dread on it, just drop them. You don't need the extra headache or drama. Life is hard enough as it is but having friends who are negative, disrespectful or just only look out for themselves makes it ten times harder. I'm not sorry for the friends I've dropped because if they really had wanted to keep the friendship, they would've treated me better.

Sydney Mergler

Over-apologizing? Just no. Let's not do that. For what? If you don't mean it, don't say it. There is no reason to apologize for something you either don't think needs to be apologized or you don't feel bad for. In the past, I used to apologize for every little thing and it drove me crazy.

On my path to self love, I've learned so much about myself already and I can't wait to learn more. I've learned I missed music, missed writing, enjoy yoga and other forms of exercise and so many other things. I've stopped holding on to things and people that aren't good for me and have started to let go of the past. Loving yourself can be a real challenge but at the end of the day it's the best thing you can do for yourself. You can't ever expect anyone to love you either in a romantic way or friend way without loving yourself. If you can't see the beauty in yourself how can you expect others to?

Sydney Mergler

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