making a difference

by Josh

eternal sunset

We want our lives to matter.
To be of importance, to someone.
To make a difference.

So we complain.
We complain and we do it often and we do it well.
And even if you try to complain as little as possible publicly (as I do),
you can still hear the voice in your head ramble on about what’s wrong with the world.
On random repeat. Like mantras.
They make for great gap-fillers in conversations because we have a keen awareness of shared problems.
The weather, work, politics, other people… you name it.
I once tried not to complain for a whole month straight and additionally not to participate in complaining with others.
It was awkward to say the least.
I had to cut off conversations all the time, or just walk away.
It was really weird and I failed all the time, but it opened my eyes to how much the act of complaining was part of my daily routines and interactions.

Last week I went for a long walk in the forest with my mum and she completely startled me with this statement:
“Behind every complaint, there is a commitment to make things work”.

Commitment is a scary word. It sounds like good bye to freedom and self determination.
And of course you should not commit to changing everything you complain about.
But maybe you could give yourself permission to complain only, if you are contributing to a solution at the same time.

For example, it really enreages me when people are careless about their rubbish.
But I strive to leave every space I enter more clean than I found it.

Whatever it is that you do from day to day, I am sure you are making a difference.
You matter. Think about it for a moment.
Why do you matter? How do you want your actions to be of importance?
It doesn’t have to be big.
Small acts matter, big thoughts don’t.
I like this, let me say it again:
Small acts matter, big thoughts don’t.

And when you are acting, motivated by a complaint you might actually be making a huge difference.
Like when you pick up a piece of toilet paper in a public toilet.
When you do other people’s dishes.
When you keep working when the rest of the team has gone home.
When you smile at someone although it’s a miserable day.
When…
Change the radio station in your head:
It’s not everyone else being a dick, they are who they are.
You are great and you make a difference!
Thank you.

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