Editor, Author, Priestess of Words
Like many people, I spent the past couple of days alternating between rage, sorrow, and feelings of powerlessness. So many powerful people in the world seem intent on stirring up hatred and creating divides among the people…what could one person, someone with not very much money or important connections, possibly do to counteract that? Despair and fear are exactly what opponents hope to foster in us, however. If we let ourselves succumb, we become paralyzed and unable to help the people around us who may be suffering more than we are.
I decided I didn’t want to be helpless, and that I would use whatever resources and privileges I had to help those who were not as fortunate as me. I know that I cannot save everyone, cannot defeat all the evil or heal all the wounds, but if I’m only able to do one good thing for someone I will consider it a success. Here are 9 ways that you can help the people around you and make the world better in the days ahead, complete with suggestions of how to accomplish them.
1. Practice love. Reach out to your neighbors and friends, especially those who are women, non-Christian, LGBTQ, or non-white. Give them love in the form of hugs, offers to help out in their lives, shared meals, and listening ears. If you see someone being abused, mistreated, or talked down to because they don’t fit the white American stereotype, speak up right then. Defend them, protect them, get them to a safe place, and foster environments where they feel empowered.
2. Volunteer. This is not the time to be passive and silent, but to protest and get involved. Not only does it actively show what you’re passionate about, but working towards a goal that’s bigger than you will help you connect with your community and encourage those who may be feeling sidelined.
3. Remember to care for yourself. You’re not going to do anyone any good if you suffer a mental or physical breakdown while trying to help others. Its okay, not selfish, to take some personal time for yourself each day to recharge your batteries and strengthen your spirit.
4. Focus on small victories. What can you do to better the world in your immediate area? It may not seem like much, but your actions will inspire others, and they in turn will go on to do good things. Positivity works like a ripple effect…even the smallest kindness can lead to hundred renewed spirits.
5. Donate. Whether its money, food, or other essentials, we can accomplish more good in the world when we pool the resources we have. You might think your $5 isn’t much, or that one can of soup won’t feed the world, but there’s strength and power in numbers, and everyone pitching in adds up to thousands of dollars and thousands of filled bellies.
6. Fight for education. One of the biggest ways people are divided and taught to hate is by the fostering of ignorance. Schools are vital to bringing people together, not just because we learn about other cultures and different perspectives, but because we become empowered to go out and use the skills we learn to make a better world for everyone.
7. Be mindful with your money. Not just with how you save, but how you spend. Who is profiting off the things you use every day? Know where your money is going when you buy products, and think about the message you’re sending by patronizing places that embrace Trump’s vision for America.
8. Go take a walk in nature. The more you immerse yourself in it, the more you’ll value the world around you. Taking time to experience the sun and moon, weather and sounds of animals, will also de-stress you and give your body the exercise and stamina it needs to keep fighting the good fight.
9. Pray. Offer sacrifices to whatever gods you hold sacred, and ask your ancestors to hold you close. There are dark days ahead, but our ancestors and our gods went through these, too, and these will be the inspiration and the faith we need to keep moving forward.