The world I live in is not as bright as it could be. I've quickly observed that I can be too naive, that I like to see the very best in others, but recently I've been proven wrong. That there are people in this world who do not love with a full heart, who do not value life's everyday blessings, and who do not see that we have the power inside of us to change this place for the better.

News update after news update, we see tragedy and trauma. We see hurt. We see clashing. We see the inability to communicate our own perspectives without putting others' down for theirs. We see automatic disdain instead of comprehension and empathy. No, we're not perfect, but we can do better. We all can be doing a whole lot better.

My heart hurts and longs to live in an era where people's motives are to breed positivity and kindness. I think it's particularly difficult to understand why people struggle so hard to simply be a nice person, to care about other people. Sure, life is not always ideal, but when did we get to this point? When did we get to a state of unwarranted harm? When can we find it in ourselves to heal, to come together, to love.

I've been conducting my own little social experiment as of late as I commute to and from class each day. My journey to school involves me walking to a train station, taking a short train ride, and walking about five minutes to campus; so envision fifteen or so minutes of travel time. In those fifteen minutes, I've smiled at strangers. People who are similar to me, who are different from me. People older, younger, equal in age. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, etc. People with their own stories, their own pasts, their own goals, their own motives. I guess you could say I wasn't expecting much in return, because you know what they say about the friendliness up north, but I've been pleasantly surprised at the power of a smile.

That one smirk, followed by a, "how are you," can seemingly make someone's day. My neurodevelopment class tells me that smiling activates mirror neurons in the brain, influencing the urge of someone to smile for themselves after witnessing the upward curves of someone else's grin. And you know what? It feels pretty damn good to make someone's day a little bit brighter, considering the weight the world seems to have on its shoulders. So as heavy as my heart has been recently, I will not cease my attempts to radiate a little sunshine here and there. I've found that faith and love should be at the core of every action, that we should believe in each other a little bit more. I've seen that prayers can go for miles and when hearts connect, there is inspiration to fuel an empowering fire. So keep praying, keep loving, keep committing to one small action a day to change the world for the better. I'm just waiting on the day that it all adds up.