The world is so full of negativity.
Sometimes I wonder how anyone manages to be cheerful if they have any shred of empathy for others. Because you see the homeless, those who have no shelter over their heads, you hear of horrific terror attacks where people have lost loved ones unfairly in the blink of an eye, the flash of a bomb.
You watch the news and see images of gang violence and disillusioned young people, and elderly folk with no one to look after them.
And that’s just in the UK, the country I call home. It’s even more overwhelming when you think about the world as a whole, the terror and wars and poverty and inequality and government corruption.
It’s a messed up world, and it’s often easy to feel sad about it.
I wish I had a solution for all of the world’s injustice. I wish I personally could solve these issues. The thing is, I can’t. Most of us, cannot. At least not alone.
We see problems and we shy away from them because they’re too much for us to deal with – we’ve got our own issues after all.
Or we see these problems and we get angry and sad at how unfair the world seems to be, to us but especially to others.
So where does cheerfulness fit into all this?
A wise friend of mine once told me that you have to make your own little corner of the world better before anything else. And that rings true in so many ways.
We simply cannot bear the weight of the world’s problems on our shoulders or, realistically, we will never be happy.
We should acknowledge them, understand them, we should learn and inform ourselves and not allow ourselves to be ignorant, certainly.
We should exercise our rights to vote, to protest, to publish our views and influence policy makers where possible, where we feel we can and should.
We should donate and volunteer for causes we feel passionately about, and endeavour to educate others about problems they are unaware of.
We should do all the little steps we can because even those little steps are steps in the right direction.
But beyond this, we cannot let our emotions be ruled by what is going on around us. And saying that doesn’t make us bad people.
We have to accept that there are issues which are going on within our own circles, which we can influence, control and improve. And by doing that, we are actually making our bit of the world a bit better. And just think, if we all tried our hardest to do that, then all corners of the world would be a little better!
What is my corner of the world?
Our own part of the world might be our neighbourhood, our workplace, our university or school, our family, our friendships and relationships… For a national politician or a diplomat or a UN official, their ‘own little part of the world’ is going to be a much bigger space, by virtue of their duties and repsonsbilities.
What can I do?
Once we’ve worked out what our own corner of the world revolves around, let’s start making some changes! We undertake our daily tasks with so much routine, we interact with others often without much thought…
So my proposition is this:
- Do one positive thing for someone else each day – might be offering up your seat on a train, helping a colleague with a problem, giving an old lady a hand, or just a chat.
- Cultivate the relationships in your life – reach out to old friends, check in with new ones, reconnect with family members with whom you’ve often been disillusioned.
- Be a pair of ears for those around you. Check if someone seems down, and be there to listen.
- Have at least one meaningful interaction, daily. Try it with someone you don’t know that well, and let your own views shine as well as encouraging theirs. It doesn’t need to be long. Just remember, conversation makes the world go round.
Maybe I sound incredibly selfish. But I think it’s necessary for our own mental well-being to remember that while there may be some problems in the world that we are almost unable to resolve, there are several that we can do something about.
Let’s make our own little corners of the world better, and be spreaders of positivity in this gloomy and unpredictable world.