As a general rule, I try to take the glass half full approach to most things in life, however recently there have been a few times when this has seemed painfully difficult. Whilst we as humans have demonstrated ourselves as being stubbornly resilient, more and more things seem to be happening which many of us never thought would, and the outcomes have been somewhat undesirable. With issues such as rising inequality and poverty, human rights abuses, the realities of climate change and the insecurity and instability of the current international climate; the challenges we face are many. It would therefore be easy for us to retreat into some sort of cocoon of despair, because what does our opinion matter anyway? It doesn’t seem to have had any sort of an effect on anything recently so what is the point?
But perhaps there is a silver lining to all of this (or perhaps I am just desperately searching for a way out of this hideous fog): maybe such seemingly dire circumstances is the wake up call we all needed. Maybe things needed to get so bad in order for us to realise that we need to take the situation seriously and get up and do something about it. Maybe the one good thing that can come out of all of this is that everyone will stop being so passive, and a whole generation of proactive citizens will be born. Maybe we can turn all of this anger, frustration and, to be frank, pure shock into something positive.
If we channel our anger into activity then change might just happen. Each of us alone may feel as though we are insignificantly tiny and that our voices cannot and will not be heard, and to be honest even when we are heard nobody ever listens, so why bother? But together we have the capacity to become a force to be reckoned with. And I know that there is a lot that we could be angry about, but we cannot let the actions of others, and the views of those in positions of power, turn our shared home into a world of hate. Because the only thing more toxic than anger, is lazy and directionless rage which bubbles into mindless hatred and tears us apart from within, cutting across society in hideous lines of division. Whilst it is a truly ugly emotion, and one that can bring out the very worst in each of us; when harnessed in a productive way, anger can be used as the fuel for revolutionary fires of change.
So don’t just sit there and read the headlines and look out at the world in shock. BE appalled. And DO something about it. Whatever it is you are angry about, YOU have the power to affect change. THINK more about what you are doing. Have a conversation, sign a petition, join a protest, start a movement, help someone out, or simply change the way others behave through the power of your own influence. Whatever it is, the one thing that is for sure is that nothing is ever going to happen unless we do something, even if that something seems small. Everything must start somewhere. It only takes one tiny match to burn down an entire forest. We live in democracies and democratic citizens were never supposed to be passive; we are the active citizens of the world, and we must not waste our opportunity to be catalysts for change.
Hopefully recent events will help to politicise our societies and coax out all of our inner-activists who will more fiercely protect our human rights and spread a message of unity against forces of hate and oppression.
Image courtesy of Oxfam International via Flickr