Many of us are experiencing a sense of helplessness in light of the recent violence and current events. Whether publicly or privately, we express sympathy for all who are impacted as we console and comfort ourselves in a variety of ways. While you may feel powerless to improve the world on a large scale, you can make a difference by taking a moment.
Be a voice for encouragement.
Embrace the opportunity to cultivate love and acceptance over fear and discord. Do your part to start a ripple effect of compassion. Seek out a cause close to your heart and invite friends and family to join in on their next volunteer opportunity. Stay open to meeting new people and learning new things as you share a worthwhile experience together.
Establish eye contact with your local cashier and say "thank you" before grabbing your cup of coffee and racing off to work. Make room for another commuter to merge into your lane of traffic or wave at someone you pass on the street. Opt for a healing breath in rather than snapping or scowling at a minor irritation. Walk away from gossip and refuse to encourage uncivil behavior among your friends and family.
Go back to the classroom.
Whether you're connecting face-to-face or commenting on social media, follow this classic bit of wisdom often used in the classroom. Ask yourself: Is this Thoughtful? Helpful? Important? Necessary? Kind? The last one -- kindness -- is the most essential of all.
Take a look at your contact list.
Observe the list of "favorites" and evaluate if your interaction is positive or negative. The people you engage with on a regular basis should lift your spirit and encourage you to do better. You should prompt the same response in them.
Remember to pause.
When a coworker, spouse, or your teen is getting on your last nerve, step back, count to 10, and look at the larger picture. Use the recess to compose yourself, resisting the urge to fire off or lash out in anger. If you hear something negative coming out of your mouth, stop and redirect yourself. Your tongue is one of the most powerful muscles in your body. Use it to teach or inspire.
Care for others.
After you've had adequate rest and made healthy choices a priority, ask yourself who in your circle could benefit from a phone call or outing. Chances are, you have someone on your mind you've been meaning to reach out to -- do it today. Send a note, make the call, surprise them with flowers, or somehow let them know you are thinking about them.
We have tremendous power over the lives we intersect with daily. May your actions uplift others.
You may also find Respectfully Addressing a Tragedy on Social Media helpful.