Socrates once wrote: “Let him who would move the world, first move himself”.
What he is essentially saying here is that before we can work on creating a better world, each of us must start with changing ourselves. For you see the world can never truly begin to change until each of us begins to ourselves through our thoughts, acts and behaviors.
For how can we create a more loving world if we perform unloving acts towards others? How can we bring about a more compassionate world, if we can show it for those within our immediate family, friendship group or country but cannot show it equally for a stranger or person outside our own country who is suffering and in great need? How can we bring about a world of trust if we continue to lie ourselves? How can we bring about a world of less greed, if we continue to perform selfish acts ourselves?
How can we begin to reduce violence in the world if we continue to show anger and hatred (the very source of violence) to those around us? How can we bring a world of forgiveness if we cannot forgive ourselves or hold grudges to those who have wronged us? And how can we bring about a world of peace if we are not even at peace with ourselves?
You see most of us live very hypocritical lives, we speak of how there needs more love and kindness in the world, yet we go home and act unkindly to our own family. We speak of how terrible it is that such senseless acts of violence are occurring in the world, yet sit at home to watch TV shows and movies that glorify killing and violence and call it “entertainment”.
We speak of how wrong it is that the oceans and world are becoming contaminated and polluted, yet do nothing to reduce our daily wastage. And we speak of how sad it is that poverty and starvation exists, yet we waste our food every day.
These are just some of the things that each of us performs on a daily basis and I am sure that all of us can relate to at least one of those that have been listed. This is not to say that we are necessarily bad people for doing these things, no one is perfect, each of us are human. But we can each do our part in creating a better world and this starts with changing our own habits, acts and behaviors.
Have you ever noticed how so many protests never change anything? This is because people go into them unchanged, sure they may be politically aware, but they do it with anger and hatred for those who have wronged them. They preach peace yet scream with immense anger and hatred, the very energy they are trying to rid. This is not to say that protesting is not effective, for some of the greatest changes in history have come about through protests.
The difference however is that these protests were not done in anger or hatred for those who wronged them, instead their underlying principle was love. As Martin Luther King said “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence, but also internal violence of the spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him”. Or as Gandhi put it “Hate the sin, love the sinner”. In other words, resist the wrongful acts of another but do not do it with anger and hatred in your heart.
Otherwise you are only allowing the very energy of hate and anger to flow through you and by doing so you are allowing it to continue. To quote Martin Luther King again “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
So if you want more kindness in the world, then be kind to those around you or help someone in need. If you want more love in the world, then show unconditional love to your family, friends and all those you meet and forgive those who have wronged you.
If you want more happiness in the world, then smile and be friendly to everyone you meet and those you pass on the street. If you want more compassion in the world, then show compassion to those around you, even those who may have previously wronged you.
If we want peace in this world, then each of us must do our best to live it each and every day. Complaints and longings for how the world should be achieves nothing. It is only through actions that the world has ever changed, so instead of complaining and longing for a better world, take the first step and change yourself and instantly a better world will begin to be forged.