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10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Young World-Changers

10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Young World-Changers

It is hard to change the world, some people might say. But for young minds like Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, St Thérèse of Lisieux making the world a better place to live in is actually possible. Age simply doesn’t matter if you want to create a huge impact on the environment and on other people’s lives. To prove this point, there is a long list of children who have successfully made a huge difference through their remarkable actions.

Be inspired and moved by these innocent and hopeful young ones who made an impressive and exceptional mark in their generations. Their accomplishments will surely change your outlook in life.

1. “Children should have pens in their hands not tools” – Iqbal Masih

Iqbal is a brave and eloquent Pakistani boy who made a big contribution and global impact on child slavery. Through his encouraging speeches, he brought awareness to uneducated slave laborers about their human rights and freedom.  At the age of 12, he became a prominent leader of a movement that fight against child labor in Pakistan.

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2. “Every child has the right to live and that is the right for life.” – Thandiwe Chama

Thandiwe is a young activist from Zambia who is known for her efforts in actively promoting the rights of children to be educated. She firmly believes that education is for everyone. All children have the right to be heard and should have access to educational opportunities. Apart from her advocacy that education is for all, she is also active in speaking to churches about AIDS.

3. “We are normal. We are human beings. We can walk, we can talk…. We have needs just like everyone else. We are all the same.”- Nkosi Johnson

Nkosi was a South African kid who was born with HIV-positive disease. His situation didn’t hinder him to become an inspiration and tell the world to fight against AIDS. In fact, he became a speaker in the International AIDS conference reminding people to be open and have an equal treatment to AIDS victims.

4. “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”- Malala Yousafzai

Malala is a Pakistani teenager who is very outspoken about girls basic rights to education. She’s known for being a women and children’s right activist. Despite of death threats from Taliban, she refused to be silenced. After surviving the assassination attempt, she became a spokesperson for human rights and education.

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5. “I want them to realize that they are never too young to make change.” – Dylan Mahalingam

Dylan is a young philanthropist and social activist who became famous when he found Lil’ MDGs when he was barely 9 years of age. It is a non-profit organization that aims to empower children and youth to work together towards the Millennium development goals. Dylan has been working with various children all around the world and resolving issue that includes hunger, poverty, education, gender equality, environmental sustainability, so on and so forth.

6. “You grown-ups say you love us, but I challenge you to make your actions reflect your words.” -Severn Suzuki

At the age of nine, Severn founded the ECO or the Environmental Children’s Organization, a group of children committed to learn and teach other kids about environmental issues. She’s been actively participating to variety of environmental projects and speaking to many schools, conference, and international meetings. When she was 12 years old she attended the Earth Summit and gave a speech  to the delegates. After that she became well-known as The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes.

7. “AIDS can destroy a family if you let it, but luckily for my sister and me, Mom taught us to keep going. Don’t give up, be proud of who you are, and never feel sorry for yourself. ” – Ryan White

Ryan is an American teenage boy who had contracted with AIDS through blood transfusions when he was 13 years old. Aside from his struggle with his illness, Ryan has to faced enormous pressure and judgment from people around him. During the short course of his life, he helped in educating people about AIDS and it resulted for a good cause. The Government passed the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Care (CARE) Act, a program that provides health care resources to Americans with HIV/AIDS who have no sufficient health care and financial resources.

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8. “Hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy!” – Mattie Stepanek

Mattie is a boy poet and profound thinker who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. In his brief lifespan, Mattie became an inspiration to many because of “Heartsongs”, his poetry collections, and his NY bestselling books that touched tons of people’s lives. He spent his remaining years on earth being an advocate for hope, peace, and people with disabilities.

9. “You can make a difference in the world, but only if you really try hard and really want to. Just pick a dream and then go for it. Oh, and never give up!” – Ryan Hreljac

Ryan was only 6 years old when he decided to help people in Africa to have clean water by building a well in a village. He began raising money for water and sanitation projects for people affected by global water crisis. Because of his perseverance and determination to help, he successfully built his first well in a primary school in Uganda. He didn’t stop there. Now, he continues to raise money to support water sources through his organization, Ryan’s Well Foundation.

10. “I think it is important to have something to strive for. By planting a garden or just some seeds in a pot you can make a difference.” – Katie Stagliano

Katie is a young gardener and an anti-hunger activist. When she was 9, she donated her 40 pound cabbage to a local soup kitchen and it helped feed more than 200 people. After that, her dream to help people fight against hunger was born. She started a vegetable garden and donate the harvest to the needy.

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These kids came from different backgrounds and they all became good role models to humanity. They know their rights and they have brave hearts to speak their minds out to fight for what they think is right. Their simple acts only reminds us that no one is never too young or old to make a difference.

Featured photo credit: Little Girl in Amusement Park BY VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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