I’ve been in love with the world since I was a child. I used to think about the amazing cities I could visit, the natural wonders I would see, the over-achievers that are making an impact on the world. I used to see so much beauty all around us. And all I could dream about was visiting and enjoying this world and making it better in every way I can.
But something started to change a few years ago. The more I read the news, the more I learned about the world, the more I was losing hope. I know, people will tell you not to read the news because it is too negative. I tell you differently – read the news. They will show you the true face of humanity. You will see how much harm people do because of their greed, ego, ignorance and cruelty. Read and watch the news to see the horrors we are capable of.
Let me paint a picture for you to see what I mean. Here are a few things that are happening as I am writing this post:
1. 5 men who raped a girl in Spain will not have to go to prison. The judge ruled that they did not actually rape that girl because the recordings (that’s right, they also recorded it) do not show the victim clearly protesting and fighting. Read more1
2. The prime minister of Romania (where I live) was sentenced to 3.5 years of prison for corruption. But he has been trying to pass new laws that make it harder to build a case against criminals hoping to have his sentence annulled. He’s still trying to do that, even though there are many ongoing investigations and trials concerning him, including one for money laundering in Brazil. Read more2
3. The United States government is separating the children of illegal immigrants from their families when they cross the border. The little children are put in cages with other children and left there to cry and sleep on the floor. It is not certain for how long they are kept there or how they are reunited with their families. Read more3
And I could go on and on. You can go to any news website and find many stories like these – and even more horrific ones. I have no idea what your reaction is, but I am always shocked and appalled by the things that are going on in the world.
As much as I try to understand what is really happening and why, I cannot. I can’t begin to imagine what type of horrible person you must be to do cause so much harm to another human being. I can’t fathom how sick, disturbed and ignorant someone must be to destroy the lives of innocent people all around them and to wreak havoc wherever they go. Maybe one day I will understand this, but right now I can’t.
So when I look at this side of the world, I’m losing hope. I get to a place that is filled with darkness, sorrow and pain. It’s like going into a room that has no windows or light – I’m blind and I can’t see anything worthwhile. I’m crippled with pain and compassion for the innocent people that don’t deserve their awful fate. But I know that I can’t stay there too long because it intoxicates my mind and soul.
So I leave the darkness and I look around me, searching for a ray of sun. And I remind myself that not all people are that bad. I tell myself that there are good men and women out there who will not harm, but protect others. They will stand up in the face of injustice, they will heal the sick, they will do the right thing. Let me tell you what these people did in the 3 cases I mentioned:
- When hearing about the verdict in the case of the young girl’s rape, thousands of people took to the streets to protest. They gathered in several cities in Spain, demanding justice and supporting the victim. Read more4
- Thousands of Romanians started to protest against the current government and the laws they are trying to pass. They also call for the prime minister’s resignation. I joined the protesters for a while yesterday and I was happy to see people of all types there: young people, older people, parents with children, friends and strangers all asking for justice. Read more5
- Many people spoke out against the way immigrant children are separated from their parents. A few days ago, Donald Trump signed an executive order to stop separating children from their families. Ted Lieu, the representative of California, played an audio recording of the crying children at a detention center to illustrate how terrible the situation is to the House. He stood up for them, but he was asked to leave. He did not want to and stated that the American people should know about this. Eventually, he yielded the floor before he was forced to do so. Read more6,7
This is what brings me hope. When the world is terribly wrong and painfully cruel, that is the moment when good men and women rise up and fight for what is right. It is in moments like these that anyone can rise up and be a hero. It is these normal people who demand justice and raise their voices and speak for those that cannot be heard that make me have faith in humanity again. This is the only way I can once again look to the world and see kindness, compassion, decency.
I’ll be honest with you, once you see the horrors happening in the world, it’s harder to also find the kindness and the good sometimes. It’s like trying to find the sunshine looking through a smoky piece of glass. But maybe this is the best way to look at the world and see it how it really is.
So what should we do? How should we look at the world and live in it? The way I see it, we can all take different approaches and end up living in different worlds.
1. Ignore the bad
You can ignore all the bad things happening out there. You can never read the news, tell your friends and family you don’t want them talking about politics, criminals, climate change or any problems around you. You can shut down that part of the world. Honestly, I think this will make you happier and many people do just that. They’ll say “I don’t need negativity in my life” and disconnect.
This is a good approach if you don’t care about the world. Focus on yourself and do what’s best for you. I get that. But don’t forget that you’ll be ignorant about many things. The problem is that you won’t really know the world you are living in. And this ignorance may seem like bliss, but it isn’t.
You may be happier in your ignorance, but even this can hurt you in many ways. You may trust the wrong people and fail to protect yourself at times. Let’s face it, you can’t protect yourself against a threat you are not aware of. And just because you never hear about the bad things going on, that doesn’t mean that they will not affect you. The murderers on the street can end up in your house, the corrupt politicians are stealing your money too. What you don’t know can hurt you and it often does.
And there’s one more thing I want to add. If you shut out this world, you’ll think you live in a better world than you do. This sounds great but it also means you will never make a difference by solving a real problem. You’ll never right a wrong or prevent one from happening. The people that are hurt and suffering need your help the most. And if they do not exist in your world, you will never be able to help them. True change happens when we fix something that is terribly wrong.
2. Only look at the bad
You can also read the news every day, thinking that you need to hear about everything. While this is better than ignoring it in a way, it’s not the best. Yes, you will be informed and know what happens in the world. But the news truly is mostly negative. And if you only look at that, you will soon think that the world is only full of problems.
You’ll find so many things that need to be fixed that you will feel helpless against the giants you need to battle. It will be hard to change anything if you are paralyzed by fear. And you also need to remember that the world is not all bad. Great things happen every day as well and good people are out there too!
3. Find a balance
As it goes with everything else, I think it’s best to find some sort of balance. While ignoring the bad things makes us blind, only looking at them makes us miss the good in the world. Try to look at both and you will see the world as it truly is – filled with darkness and light.
When something bad happens, try to understand it. Have compassion for the people that have been wronged and ask yourself: Can I do something about it? Can I help in any way?
When something good happens, rejoice. Remind yourself that we live in a great world where kindness, love and good people still exist. Share the good news and ask yourself: Can I do more?
Finding a balance is challenging and hard to do at times. But so far, I haven’t found a better way.
If you are reading this article know, there’s a high chance that we have something in common: we care deeply about the world. When we see injustice, we can’t look away. And when we know people are suffering, we feel compelled to do something.
I think that there are good people left out there who, like me and you, wish they could do more. The problem is that it’s sometimes hard to know what will matter. It’s not easy to see how you can contribute best. But I do know one thing you can do: keep learning about what happens in the world. One day, you will find something that calls to you. It’s usually something that gets you very excited and passionate. Or it might be something that makes you feel so angry and outraged, that you cannot hep but talk about it and do something.
When you find that thing that calls to you, that speaks to yourself in a way you cannot ignore, please answer that call. We are all called to do something at one point or another. It’s usually something we deeply care about or something we are good at. That’s probably the best way you and me can save our world – by following our callings.
*I don’t curse in real life. But my inner self occasionally does when the situation calls for it. That’s usually the case when we are talking about injustice of any kind.