“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
– Leo Tolstoy
Change yourself and everything else around you changes, slowly. It’s a knock-on effect. And in time the world changes. It’s slow, but it does happen. Which is more than most of us can say for our best intentions to go out there and create something grand and exciting that will fix depression, or youth suicide, or breast cancer.
Bring it in close to home, rather than working outwards, and you get results. Gently. Effectively.
My spiritual counselor friend Sky once told me to “be my message”. I’d been rabbiting on about how I wanted to show, and to tell, people how to do things better. She wisely suggested instead of trying to change “out there”, and preaching, I could try living the change myself. That is, live the struggle of trying to improve my level of care. I find this hard because I’m inherently selfish. I forget birthdays and I fail to visit friends who’ve had kids and who keep asking me to come over for tea because they’re going insane with lack of adult company. And sometimes I can’t be bothered to pull the plastic windows off envelopes before putting them in the recycling, even though I harp on to others about being diligent waste sifters.
It also meant delving into the dark, messy corner cupboards of myself, where I store all the stuff I don’t really want to face, and which holds me back from progress. Stuff like an arrogant belief that I don’t need intimacy. Stuff like…um, I think I’m still delving in that corner.
Slowly I’m changing. And slowly I’m seeing people’s reactions to me changing. And slowly the world will change.