In times like these, I have to remind myself that I cannot hold the world on my shoulder. No matter how much I wish I could change circumstances and make things better, I alone cannot. I have very little control over world events. But, what I do have control over are my thoughts and feelings and reactions to situations. I can choose if I want to be positive. I can choose if I want to be understanding. I can choose to use my voice. I can choose to be a good person.
We are living through history. Our world right now is changing and evolving. And though I wish many, many things were different, I accept that change takes time. Change takes people. Change takes bravery.
So this a pledge to myself. A pledge that I will do my part in making the world a better place. A pledge that I will work to be the change that I want to see in the world. A pledge to remind myself, that making a difference, whether it be small or large, starts with one person. A pledge to remind myself that although I cannot hold the world on my shoulder, I can hold my part.
I pledge to get off social media. I choose personal conversation. If I wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, why would I say it online?
I pledge to read more books; watch more documentaries; listen to podcasts; appreciate more art; read the newspaper. I want to use different means to understand the world around me. I want to use different outlets to learn about current events. I want to seek knowledge and information though outlets other than CNN, BuzzFeed, and my Facebook timeline.
I pledge to appreciate my life circumstances. Because of the country I was born, the state I have lived, the family I have, I have had immense privilege and opportunities throughout my lifetime. Instead of wishing for my life to be a certain way, I will start appreciating what’s right in front of me.
I pledge to immerse myself into culture of all forms. I will go to museums. I will watch foreign films. I will listen to music from all over the world. I will go to the library. I will try new foods. I will travel near and far, whenever there is an opportunity.
I pledge to meet new people. I will talk to people. I will learn their stories. I will have the difficult conversations. I will ask questions. I will listen.
I pledge to be kind. To be nice. To be a good person.
I pledge to remind myself that everyone, even the people you strongly dislike, are human. I may not care for them, their opinions, beliefs, or how they choose to live their lives, but they are people too. They are someone’s son or daughter. They are someone’s brother or sister; They are someone’s parent; someone’s grandparent; someone’s friend. They are still human.
I pledge to be empathetic. How can I judge or criticize someone without knowing or understanding their perspective? Without walking in their shoes? I will choose empathy. I will choose compassion. Those traits can go a long way, and I hope to use them to make myself and the world more understanding, more embracing, more kind.
I pledge to be aware. I will stay informed. I will make myself aware of what is going on in the world- both domestically and internationally. I will be aware of my community. I will strive for awareness of other’s- their experiences, their perspectives, their struggles.
I pledge to be open-minded. I will live with an open mind, in as many ways as possible. I want to be inspired. I want to be challenged. I want to be open to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways of learning. I want experiences and conversation and different ways of life, not to stop me, but to fuel my growth.
I pledge to explore. To adventure. To wander. To never stop being curious.
I pledge to remain hopeful. Without hope, there is nothing to live for. I am hopeful that things will turn out okay; that our voices will be heard; that love will conquer. Hopeful for acceptance. Hopeful for inclusion. Hopeful for empathy. Hopeful for peace.