Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Be the change.

I spent a large portion of the last year, roaming around in public quarters in tattered sweatpants and ratty, "Who lost the brush?" hair. I don't know exactly when, but I reached a point where I thought that makeup was bullshit and that it was so stupid for people to judge each other based on appearances that I wasn't going to care about my own. I was out to prove a point to myself, and the only point I really ended up proving was that people are, in fact, incredibly judgmental when you don't make an effort, and that I could dress like a homeless person and still very much have a home.

The idea, that people come to conclusions about each other based on such narrow circumstances, that you could try to sum up another person in a set of characteristics and deem them unworthy of your time and efforts, sickens me. How can anyone just write off another human being and then no longer care about them? Why do we deem certain people undeserving of kindness, love, or respect?

You are the vibes you put out into the world. Sure, you can be sharp and jagged and that will carry you through life, but you won't be able to let people in. You can be completely disengaged and withdrawn, and allow the world to withdraw from you, because it's easier than getting hurt. Or you can decide that you are going to throw yourself into your relationships head first and take that leap.

Being positive and empowering the people around you makes people happy. Making people feel good makes you feel good, and that empowers you as well. It gives people a sense that they can lean on you for support, and that, in turn, makes people all too happy to give back and help whenever they can. That's how you engage in healthy exchanges. You treat people with respect, even when you don't agree with them. You apologize when you are wrong and communicate openly. You keep judgment out of the picture entirely.

You don't know someone's thought process until you ask. You don't know their story until they tell you. Don't assume things about people, ASK THEM for clarification. Take those five extra minutes and get a better sense of what you actually know. Give them a chance to show you their process.

This doesn't just help others, but also yourself as well. When you put out the right vibes, good people will gravitate toward you like you've turned on a beacon. You'll find friendships come easily because those people will be happy to put the effort in too. You can be the change you wish to see in the world.

How can you start to turn around your attitude if you've noticed that you've been negative or judgmental? People I meet at the playground want to tell me their life stories. On first meetings, I've heard all about abusive spouses, deepest fears, hopes and dreams. All of these things are just bubbling on the surface if you stop and ask someone how they really are. If you take the time to connect once in a while and just listen, you'll see people all over the place who are just dying for someone to stop and listen to them. They just want to get it out and then they feel better.

And you know what? It makes you feel damn good to know that you helped a little. My kids and I sat and ate lunch with an elderly man who was sitting by himself at Costco. He told me and the kids all about his daughter and his granddaughter. It made him light up to have company. A woman stopped my kids in Walmart to talk to them for five minutes about how adorable they were and how she remembered when her kids were that age. Take those five minutes. Take that lunch time and give it to someone who needs the company. You'll thank yourself when you walk away smiling. When you nourish someone else's soul, it nourishes yours as well.

These are little ways that you can brighten someone's day and if you can, do it. If someone needs a shoulder, be it. If you think something negative about someone, challenge why you feel that way and ask if it's coming from a place of support, or low self-esteem fueled projection.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”

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