“Be the Change” – not as easy as it sounds. . .

war tank on dirt road

We all know the adage, be that change – live it, demonstrate it, exemplify it in your own world – in order to manifest it in the larger world around you. Easier said than done.

What’s the change you’d like to see in the world?

  • Maybe it is PEACE – so, the prescription is, be peaceful yourself – carry out your affairs without unnecessary conflict, show mercy, compassion and “be peace” in your world.
  • Maybe it is LOVE — so, the prescription is, be loving yourself – show kindness, care, attention, acceptance, and grace to those around you, “be love” in your world.
  • Maybe it is SECURITY – so, the prescription is, be secure yourself – breathe deeply, have confidence in your safety, demonstrate what it looks like to be “be secure” in your world.

Whatever your deepest wish for the world might be (your nearby world, and the larger world that surrounds us), it is enormously challenging to be an example of that change on your own, by yourself, within yourself, especially in times of turmoil.

  • It is hard to be peace in a world waging war. 
  • It is difficult to be love in a world full of anger and hostility – operating on self-protective instincts.
  • It is overwhelming to be secure with global warming, 35% inflation, and impending famine.

So, what’s a human to do?

It certainly doesn’t help to ignore the prescription, but it certainly isn’t easy to follow it either! The conundrum lies in our human inability to see that our own, personal efforts do make a difference:

  • We aim to be peaceful; war continues.
  • We try to demonstrate love; hate remains rampant.
  • We work to be secure; yet insecurities persist and seem to gain ground.

The key is in recognizing WHERE the change you create is actually making a difference. . .

  • My peacefulness is not changing the situation on the ground in Ukraine, but it is generating calm in my own household, where dementia lives, and is frequently disturbing the peace.
  • My love is not healing the racial, political, or domestic divides in America, but it is quietly making my neighborhood a nicer place, where neighbors talk to each other and exemplify kindness.
  • My attempts at being secure (on a retiree’s income) won’t change the policymaking of the Federal Reserve Bank or the price of gas at the pumps, but it has led our household toward more plant-based eating, less frivolous driving, and more carefully managing our food waste.

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

I may not be changing the WORLD, but I am, slowly, steadily changing my world. How might your perspective change if you took note of the changes actually underway in your world?  Where do you see others mirroring your efforts? Where do you see the benefits of your diligence? Where can you find the proof that your endeavors, small though they may be, are worth the investment of your time, energy, and effort? These are the fruits of your labor, so to speak.

These are the places where it may be possible to find reinforcement for the changes you long for in the larger world. But you’ll never see them if you’re only watching the national headlines, the most prominent social media posts, or the nightly news.

Your impact on the world (your world) is more personal, more private, and possibly more important. So, I encourage you, go ahead, BE THE CHANGE, even when it’s hard to know if you’re making a difference! The Peace, Love, or Security (or whatever your personal wish for CHANGE might be) you put out into the world will come back to bless YOU. And, in that simple effect – you may change the world around you!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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