When deciding whether something is worth fussing over, I try to think of all the truly horrible things that have happened. The soldiers in their trenches, storming the beaches, picking up their blown-off limbs, dragging their dead friends, tearing men – with hearts, families, ambitions and lives just like them – to pieces for the greed, cruelty and vendettas of rich, elitist world leaders. I think of children born without sight or hearing, that have cancer ravaging their tiny, fragile bodies, that have no homes or no food or no family. I think of the homeless man on the street that nobody will help up, that isn’t given a chance, that has nobody and nowhere to turn to. I think of the old woman alone in a home, waiting for just one of her many children and grandchildren to take just an hour out of their lives to visit her. I think of the animals marched off to slaughter with fear in their eyes as they see others butchered, skinned and killed before them, the sea life suffocating on rubbish, nets or in our hands, the minks skinned alive, the unwanted and unloved pets left alone and crammed in cages to be euthanised. I think of the parents of unborn babies, of lost children, of sons and daughters that barely had a chance to live. I think of the third world citizens whose food is given to our livestock so we may have that extra cheeseburger, who are starving, riddled with diseases and live in a state of perpetual war. I think of all the lives lost to gun, domestic and physical violence. I think of all those people who feel alone because they have been stripped of their dignity, their families and their homes.
I think of all of these travesties and I ask myself if my problems really matter.
I put on weight? How lucky am I to have enough food to eat! I can’t afford to go out? How lucky am I that I have a warm, safe bed to sleep in tonight! I have had my feelings hurt? I feel depressed? How lucky am I that my life is a thousand times more fortunate than all those other poor souls! How lucky am I that at any moment I have the opportunity, the ability, the right and the privilege to pick myself up, and start all over. I am able to make the best or the worst of my life, and to create a lasting impression that others could only dream of. We look at each other’s and celebrities’ appearances, accessories, hair, makeup, clothes, cars, careers, fortunes, and think that’s what makes that person worthwhile? We think that all those things are what we should endeavour to imitate? That those things are the key attributes to life? What do they achieve? Surely not happiness, but pride, ego, vanity, yes. A distorted view of reality and what truly matters, yes. We forget that it is our fundamental instinct to obtain happiness, yet place these shallow things as higher importance than those that cannot be bought. The only thing that results in happiness, in true depth and purpose of a life, is that of compassion, selflessness, humility, and goodness. To have compassion, to ourselves, to our fellow man and to all animals and nature. We limit our compassion to only a select few and in doing so, cheat ourselves of resounding and unlimited peace. To have compassion towards one’s enemy, is the greatest achievement of love we could ever aspire to. Nothing shows greater humility and understanding than that of turning away from a life of scorning, battling and resenting someone, no matter how wounded our pride may be. Just as showing compassion towards someone or something that may never be able to express gratitude, the selflessness in committing oneself to a greater purpose and to helping improve, restore and even save the lives of others is an achievement worth more than a thousand likes on Instagram, expensive jewellery, or the perfect body. We are capable of being and doing so much more. Do not cheat yourselves out of being somebody worthwhile. Do not limit yourselves to obtaining shallow and meaningless goals in place of remarkable and inspiring feats. Do something. Make something. Help someone. Be someone. Change something. Stand up for something. Stand up against something. Anything. Live with your heart. Love with your soul. Create. Learn. Be humble. Be giving. Be forgiving. Be lighthearted. Be kind. Be understanding. Be not too proud to admit your mistakes. Be not too afraid to reach for something you may not achieve. Every failure: every lesson. Leave a mark upon this world.
Just remember; it is often those who make the greatest impacts on the world that are considered weird, unacceptable, or outcasts by those who stand huddled in a crowd of the faceless masses.