For all its upsides, life has a terrible habit of being horrible sometimes.
Sometimes it’s something in your own life. Sometimes it’s the things that happen in the rest of the world getting you down.
Sometimes, the weight of all the conflict and the inequality and the suffering just gets too much. You have to stop and wonder why you bother, why you struggle on, putting up with this miserable, unjust reality. Sometimes, all the misery can eclipse the things you really love about life.
Usually, your gut instinct is to distract yourself. Find something that takes your mind off the pain. Go for a run, away from the media. Look at pictures of cute animals frolicking and remember that there’s not a thing in the world that isn’t adorable when it jumps.
But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything.
Once you drag yourself back to reality, you have to face the bleakness of it all again. You’re stuck where the world is uninspiring and crushing, where it feels futile and purposeless.
It’s easy to forget that it doesn’t have to be.
Sometimes, it can be right there in that darkest, coldest, loneliest place that you really realise it.
It could be there that you find something worth pledging your life to.
Being aware of all the horrible things that you hate about the world – being so hideously, painfully aware, so much so that you can’t bear it – can be the inspiration you need to make a difference.
Don’t ever think that you have to be responsible for changing every problem in this world. It’s pretty broken up.
But acknowledging that is the first step to making a difference.
If the existence of some injustice – or the lack of something beautiful – is causing you this much distress, let that be the driving force behind everything you do with your life. Maybe it needs to be, for you to be person you have the potential to be.
If you don’t want to live in a world where this exists, make it your mission to eliminate it.
Find like-minded people. Join a group. If there isn’t one, make one. Found the movement yourself.
Do it alone, in the beginning, if you have to.
If you’re fighting for something worthwhile, people will join you, even if it’s not for many years. But let your believe push you to carry on no matter what.
See something you disagree with? Say it, stand up for what you think is right.
Think someone – or some people – deserve a better shot at life? Go help them.
Think there isn’t enough art in the mainstream that reflects your experience of the world? Go make some.
Identify your problem. Find any thing – no matter how small – that you can do to make it just a little bit easier for everyone else who has the same problem. Build on it. Make it your purpose. Devote yourself to it.
Be the change you wish to see.
Make the world a better place just by living in it.
Everyone has the power to change lives. It can be scary to tap into, but it is always there.
What will you do with it?
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.