The last few days, my heart has ached with the suffering of others.
Several friends are going through difficult times, including grief, illness and break ups. On the larger scale, it’s news of yet another mass shooting, continuing tensions between police and black civilians, children who don’t have enough to eat … so many big issues, so much heartache.
It can make me want to curl up and cry.
Instead of giving in to feeling powerless to change these monumentally painful situations, I decided to try to make a few small ripples of good in the water. To just do one thing at a time to try to make even one person’s life better.
So I put the call out to some of my favorite girlfriends, including a few who are dealing with some heavy stuff, to invite them to brunch. Brunch will not fix what’s wrong in their lives, not by a long shot, but I just hoped it might give them an hour or two of a temporary distraction.
At a coffee shop today, as I chatted with our young barista, he told me it was his 22nd birthday. I asked if he was doing anything to celebrate, and he sighed that New York is so expensive that he wasn’t sure he could afford to go out. As we left, I gave him a few bucks to buy himself a birthday beer. Does that stop the war and the killings, does that end poverty and racism and sexism? No. But I would rather do something than be paralyzed by my inability to change all those other things.
Can I call on you to do one simple thing to make your corner of the world better? Can we add a little bit more love, more laughter, more smiles to a world that feels like it really needs all that?
Need some ideas? Just to get you started:
- Send someone flowers — someone you love or maybe someone you’d like to thank for his or her contributions to the world
- Text someone you care about with a message of affection
- Make a donation to a cause you care about
- Do a chore for one of your neighbors who could use the help
- Overtip someone who makes your life better — your favorite waitress, a good cabdriver, your hair stylist
- Pick up trash on your street
- Buy a sandwich for a homeless person
- Volunteer to play music at a hospital or nursing home
Need more ideas? The Internet is packed with inspiration:
- 10 Simple Ways to Make the World a Better Place
- 25 Things We Can Do to Make the World a Better Place.
- Simple Things to Make This World a Better Place
What can you do today, right now, to put some positive energy out into the world?