Considering recent global events and everything we’ve been through the past few years, it’s been tough for me to focus on the positives, even though focusing on the positives is a core component of my approach to life and teaching.
Looking into this further, I’ve come to realize that my commitment isn’t necessary to be positive but to be a positive force in the world, no matter what.
Answering that question when facing challenges is crucial to who we choose to be.
It’s not necessarily about finding the silver lining or being happy. Instead, it’s about committing to ourselves and those around us that we will be part of the solution rather than simply commenting on or adding to the problems themselves.
Taking on problems and overcoming obstacles is how we turn challenges into valuable life lessons.
It can seem overwhelming when we are faced with geopolitical, social, or natural disaster issues (as has been the case in recent years).
How to Be a Positive Influence
Here are some things we can do or consider right now concerning this issue:
Seek out Opportunities to Assist
Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
I always try to keep this in mind myself.
We can all make a difference, no matter how small or large, in addition to seeking out help.
There are always ways to help, whether we donate money, make phone calls, post, or share our good thoughts and wishes.
It is also a way to act as a force for good, regardless of the situation, by helping those we assist directly.
Rise Above your issues and Take Charge of them
There are two types of complaints—idle complaints (whining and moaning about how bad things are) and proactive complaints (taking issue with something and seeking to have it changed).
Contacting our elected representatives – at the national, state, and local levels – is an excellent example of this.
Whether we voted for them or not, those who represent us work for us. We can influence change and express our concerns by picking up the phone, writing a letter, sending an email, or posting on social media pages to one of our elected officials.
Complaining, which is both understandable and common these days, doesn’t usually provide positive results. However, when complaints are made proactively, they can provide the catalyst for positive and constructive change in many situations.
Stay Clear of the drama
I’ve been getting caught up in the constant drama of the daily headlines and news over the past few years. It’s especially easy to do, given all that has been happening in our country and our world.
However, the current media environment usually does not feel good or allow us to make a real difference. I believe that many decent journalists are performing important and courageous work, but the media as a whole is currently set up to lure our attention, make us watch, click, and then purchase what their advertisers are offering.
The media entices us emotionally and holds our attention by leading with shock, drama, fear, and outrage. We must be careful how we interact with the news and media.
Being caught in the constant fear/drama cycle often makes us feel upset, discouraged, or even depressed, and the best thing we can do is unplug and look for ways to help.
Be Honest and Assertive
These days, many significant occurrences are demanding our attention.
It is crucial to take a stand. It requires a lot of courage and can be a powerful way for us to make a positive impact. However, we must be honest when we express ourselves.
Individuals are authentic when they are both self-righteous and vulnerable while being honest.
It’s crucial to be truthful, but we also must remove our self-righteousness and add vulnerability (emotional exposure, risk, and uncertainty).
If we are willing to speak up in an authentic way, we can have a significant impact.
Aim to be Grateful
It can be difficult to find gratitude during times of challenge and difficulty, and it is just as important as ever.
Acknowledging someone’s suffering and being grateful for our own blessings at the same time is how we honor and support them.
It’s possible to be grateful and want to help those in need at the same time. Even during difficult times, there is always so much to be grateful for.
According to Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, “Circumstances don’t define us. They reveal us.”
The people closest to us—friends, co-workers, teammates, and family members—benefit the most when we show up authentically and strive to make a real impact for good.
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