– by Wendy Morley, Publisher –
We all, pretty much, go through times in our lives when we feel out of sorts. It’s not that things feel wrong, exactly, it’s that they’re just not quite right. Sometimes this feeling precipitates a change – you realize you’re in the wrong program in school or that the person you’ve been seeing is not quite right for you. Or it might be something much less monumental – you haven’t slept enough, you’ve had too much to drink, you haven’t gotten enough exercise or you’ve been eating poorly.
Sometimes, though, it is something else entirely.
One of our human needs is to feel that we are offering something to the world, that we are known for something other than to have existed. This is, arguably, at least one of the reasons people create, why they want to be immortalized in art and in movies and books.
But there is another way to offer something to the world, and that is to be a positive influence. People can go to extraordinary measures in order to help their fellow human beings, their fellow animals, the environment … whatever they feel passionate about. If that is your inclination, then by all means. But you don’t need to do extraordinary things to make a difference. The following small things will help make you feel good, help you feel at peace with yourself and the world, and help bring you back make you feel at one with your world again.
- Allow people to go ahead of you
If you live in a city, then you’ll notice that people are always rushing, trying to get in front of everyone else. They shove their way onto buses and subways, they race to beat traffic lights, they rush to beat you to the Starbucks line. Instead of joining in that melee, signal to the person to go ahead in front of you and say, “After you.” It might add one or two seconds onto your journey or it might take 30 seconds longer to get your drink, but most of the time you will receive a big smile and a nod or a thank you in return. You might even get to watch some stress melt from that person’s face.
- Listen more
All too often when others are speaking we are so concerned with getting our point across or with appearing intelligent or amusing that we don’t truly listen to what the other person is saying. Try taking a step back and removing your ego from the conversation. Consciously listen and hear what the other person is saying. First, people really appreciate being heard and will have positive feelings toward you. Second, you will learn something. Third, forcing yourself to be patient helps to produce a feeling of calm.
- Give without judgment
Most cities have their share of homeless people, and it’s very easy to walk by them. There are all kinds of reasons people end up homeless, from escaping abuse to living hand to mouth and contracting an illness. Sometimes, yes, there is substance abuse, which may have come before or after the homelessness. Whatever has caused this individual to end up on the streets, it is a difficult way to live. Try offering some judgment-free support, whether that means money, food, warm socks or, as Diana Osborne does, a free haircut.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
There’s nothing like a furry friend to make you feel better, and lots of furry friends seriously need some love and attention. Most shelters rely on volunteers for every position, from cleaning the animals and their cages to keeping the website updated to managing the volunteers. But they also need help with the easiest of tasks – walking the dogs and letting the cats out of their cages one at a time for some petting. Doing good in the world and getting some furry love. What more could you ask for?
- Create something
Do you secretly want to be an artist or writer? Start painting or writing! Or get a woodworking kit and carve. Or buy some clay and create sculptures. But you don’t have to be “artistic” to create. Learn how to knit, or build things out of wood. Or make jewelry. This can be as easy as braiding leather or as complex as shaping metal or anything in between. The reality is, everything must be created. Back before IKEA and Walmart, many people built their own furniture and sewed their own clothes. With a little effort (and possibly some YouTube watching), you too can create at least some of the things you use every day.
Wendy has spent much of her life writing about things that improve readers’ health and well being. She has no patience for negativity, shaming or dictating how others “should” be, but rather aims to help people become both true to themselves and happy to be alive.