“Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers. The question of what to do with the feelings that have been aroused, the knowledge that has been communicated. If one feels that there is nothing ‘we’ can do…, then one starts to get bored, cynical, apathetic.” Susan Sontag
We are all familiar with this feeling of impotency, this feeling that we can do nothing in face of the poverty, crimes and atrocities of the world. But is it impossible for us to translate our compassion into action? What can we do to positively influence our community and people around us?Advertising
Love can change the world. Here are 5 ways to make an impact in your community and improve the lives of others.
Open Your Eyes and Ears to Understand the Needs of Others
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and to overlook the need for help that’s all around us. When we open our eyes and focus our minds on love and empathy, we see opportunities to make an impact in someone else’s life.Advertising
Use Your Talents And Positions Of Influence
Each of us has unique talents. It may be woodworking, crafting, cooking, or working on the computer. You may not have thought of impacting someone’s life by gifting your talents. For example, let’s say you enjoy woodworking. Seek out a family that you know is struggling financially. Pour your love into a making a piece of furniture that you can sell and contribute the proceeds of the sale to the family. If you want to stay anonymous, leave a note in their mailbox with the proceeds inside. With a little creativity, you’ll find lots of ways to change people’s lives with love.
Anonymous Acts of Kindness
Brightening someone else’s day without them knowing who did it can make a big difference in their lives.Advertising
Here are some ideas to get you started:Advertising
- Leave a note of encouragement on a random car in a parking lot.
- Pay for the person behind you in a drive through.
- When getting gas, leave an envelope with $10 inside and a note saying “Please accept this gift, I hope it brightens your day.”
- When eating at a diner, tip your waitress the same amount as the bill.
- Put money in parking meters for someone whose time has expired.
- Mow your neighbor’s yard when they’re out of town.
- Leave unused coupons next to items on the shelf.
Provide a Warm Meal
There are times when our friends and neighbors need help but don’t feel comfortable asking. They may be sick, stressed out, or having financial difficulties. When you sense this, give them a call asking if you can bring over a hot meal. Give them a day’s notice so that they can enjoy the day knowing that they don’t have to rush home to cook.
Volunteer in your Community
There are many organizations that are impacting people’s lives in a positive way. By volunteering, these organizations can continue providing assistance and you gain a sense of satisfaction by helping. A side benefit is that you also pick up new skills that are valuable in other areas of your life. Can’t think of places to volunteer? Here are a few ideas:
- Local churches – Look for local churches or synagogues that need help.
- Habitat for Humanity – Help build houses for families in need and learn valuable construction skills.
- Food Pantries – Local food pantries organize food drives and feed hungry residents in your neighborhood. FoodPantries.org lets you search for one near you.
- YMCA – Here you can volunteer to help both children and adults, strengthen your leadership skills, or pick up some valuable teaching experience by tutoring literacy courses.
Make It Your Lifestyle: Practice Daily Kindness
Daily kindness begins with a smile. As you encounter others, put on a smile and say hello. We never know the struggles that a specific person is going through and something as small as a smile and a warm greeting can change someone’s outlook. You’ll find that smiling is contagious. When you smile at someone, they automatically smile back and you are immediately rewarded for your efforts.
Featured photo credit: Love and hope/ John Liu via flickr.com
Last Updated on January 18, 2019
7 Ways To Deal With Negative People
Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.
1. Limit the time you spend with them.
First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.
In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.
Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.
2. Speak up for yourself.
Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.
3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”
This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.
But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.
4. Don’t make their problems your problems.
Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.
This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.
Why else would they be sharing this with you?
5. Change the subject.
When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.
Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.
6. Talk about solutions, not problems.
Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.
I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.
You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”
Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.
7. Leave them behind.
Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.
If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.
That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.
You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.