Serving others is worth the personal sacrifices we make.

How You Can Make the World a Better Place Today

Let's talk about doing what's right; improving our world.

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What did you do to make the world a better place today?

Seriously, take thirty seconds to think about it.

Well… what did you do today to make the world a better place?

A woman I met during a family vacation was asked this question during her Spa visit. She had just experienced a deep tissue massage, something I haven't been brave enough to try, and she saw this question in a cute little book in the spa lobby.

She read the comments in the book before she "put in her own two cents." When she was talking to me, her eyes had that light in them people have when they have experienced something really positive.

As we talked about the question, someone else at the table said dejectedly, "I did nothing." It bothered me because I had been with this person for most of the day, and they had done many positive things that day. So I offered this small tidbit to her.

"Well, you could make the world a better place by helping someone smile, or even helping yourself smile." Commenting on this led to a more positive conversation than letting her think about herself negatively. Therefore, by helping her change her perspective on her day, I was able to make her world a better place.

We often forget the world doesn't always need a superman to make it a better place. Sometimes, it's as courageous to make the world a better place by choosing to do the laundry when you got in a fight with your spouse or reach out to a distant friend just because (for someone odd reason) you can't stop thinking about him. Sometimes, sticking close to someone while he/she is suffering is just as courageous as being a superhero.

I know there are so many ways to make the world a better place, but I have a few ideas. If you want, you can read them below:

Reaching out to someone going through a hard time

Doing your roommate's dishes

Smiling at a stranger

Helping carry the groceries inside

Sincerely apologizing for a past mistake

Paying your bills ahead of time

Telling your role model how much you appreciate him/her

Purchasing a stranger's meal/drink (in the fast food line, at a restaurant, at a coffee shop)

Volunteering at a local food kitchen


...and the list goes on and on.

It's up to you how you act in and react to the world. You won't get it right all the time, and that's okay. But when you get it wrong (or not all the way right), assess the moment kindly, forgive yourself for what was lacking about it, and try to do better the next time.

By intentionally committing ourselves to "just do the next right thing," we are living our lives with more virtue. By sacrificing our comfort to make someone else's life better, we are also practicing for future moments when we are called to sacrifice more. As a young lady, helping my friend while they are sick could prepare me for when I help my kids through their sicknesses in the future.

Let me just brag about my roommate for a bit. She bakes delicious cupcakes. These cupcakes have the perfect blend of gooey cake and creamy icing. She also has a super generous heart. This summer, for two weeks straight, she was up late baking and icing cupcakes every night of the week to give them away to her coworkers and friends.

When I saw her spend so much of her limited free time serving others… it helped me reflect on what it means to be sweet and kind. Seeing others sacrifice their time and resources to make someone else's life better inspires others to do the same.

Making the world a better place means making yourself a better person in the world. It means practicing patience, kindness, trustworthiness, and more when we tend to be impatient, mean, suspicious, and more.

I believe you can do what is right, even if it isn't easy. The world needs you to do what is right, especially when it isn't easy. That's how you become a hero not only to me but the people in your world. People think the world is a big place, and sure - it is. There are lots of continents and people out there. But your world - your coworkers, friends, family, and more - they need you to rise up and make the community you all live in a better place.

So... how are you going to help your world be a better place today?

Now get out there and do it.

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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10 Pieces Of Advice From My Parents That Have Helped Me Survive This Thing Called Life

I don't like admitting that they're right, but they've helped me through more than they'll ever know.

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As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.

1. Don't take things for granted

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I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.

2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve

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My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.

3. Be vulnerable

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In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.

4. You can never have too many shoes

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Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.

5. You're going to be okay

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Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.

6. You have to have friends in life

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It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.

7. Never be afraid to share your opinion

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Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.

8. Don't stress over things you have no control over

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Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.

9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise

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My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.

10.  S*** or get off the pot

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My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.

Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.

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