Replacing Worries with Goodness
No question, we all have things to worry about, some of them very significant. But, one sure-fire way to start feeling better—about yourself and life in general—is to increase the level of goodness coming from your life. You can “road test” this point by simply doing something nice for someone…calling someone to let them know you were thinking about them, taking a meal to an elderly person down the street, or volunteering to feed the homeless at the local shelter. There are dozens of ways you can “share some goodness” and improve someone’s life…make them feel a little better by showing that you care. Just try it…it will make you feel better too.
The person who does good to another,
also does good to themselves.
Problems Seem to Be Everywhere
In the world . . . the war in Ukraine has driven millions of citizens from their homes and killed many civilians—men, women, and children—there. Terrorists is various countries kill innocent civilians for no reason at all. And nuclear threats continue to come from many countries.
Here at home . . . shootings and killings in many cities are at all-time highs. There are an increasing number of confrontations with policemen. And, while this is going on, politicians have continued verbal attacks instead of working together to actually solve these problems for our people.
And in our personal lives . . . struggles with grades in school, financial pressures, relationships that aren’t working well, lack of a good-paying job, family members who are struggling . . . an on it goes. At times, such difficulties make us worry about the real benefit of life and living.
How can we possibly have peace in the present and hope for the future with all of these bad things taking place? This may be one of the most difficult questions you and I will ever try to answer. In fact, it would be much easier to ignore the question altogether.
Troubles and problems seem to be almost everywhere these days.
But we can almost be guaranteed that we will never feel better if we take a just-don’t-think-about-it approach to life. There are things you and I can do to “keep hope alive” in our communities and in the world. As unbelievable as it may seem right now, you and I can make a difference. Former First Lady Michelle Obama gave us this insight about being active in the pursuit of hope:
You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.
So, what can we do to bolster our hope for the future?
In the world . . . join and become active in a global or national cause
Granted, some problems are so far away it’s much easier to just overlook them. But those hungry children, those war-torn families, those people who lost their homes in the hurricane . . . these situations all involve individuals who need someone to care about them. As strange as it may seem, regaining our hope starts with helping someone in need regain theirs. Start your hope-building project by finding a group or organization that is working to make things better for others, and do your part, large or small, to help right some wrong in this world.
Here at home . . . do something to help someone close by
If there is one thing that makes us feel better, it’s to reach out and help someone right around us in some way. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but there are those around you, in your school, your town or community who are hurting in some way or need some type of assistance. Helping them will—no doubt about it—help you as well. The important thing is not just to be concerned, but to actually do something that helps someone near you.
In your personal life . . . prioritize your challenges and address them one at a time
No matter who you are, there will always be challenges to overcome. The key is not to sit back and just worry about them
or ignore them, but to make specific choices to move your life in a better direction. Make a list of what you consider to be your current challenges, prioritize them in some way, and go to work on resolving one of them. Then, move on to another. You can make your life better even if it doesn’t happen all at once. You hold on to hope through the process by making choices to resolve your problems . . . one at a time.
It’s a Matter of Doing Something
Rebuilding hope won’t happen if you just sit there. It requires you to make choices and do something. A choice to help people in the world whose lives have been impacted in some way. A choice to reach out to someone close by you to improve their life in some small way. A choice to work to resolve one of the problems on your personal challenges list. Interestingly, two of these choices are about helping others; only one is about you. Focusing totally on yourself never rekindles hope. Helping others always does.
No man or woman can really be strong, gentle and good
without the world being better for it,
without somebody being helped and comforted
by the very existence of that goodness
One Last Point
As we have pointed out in other writings on this site, we believe, and strongly so, that the basic purpose of our life is to use it in some special way to help others. We were not given our life to “have a good time” or to “make a lot of money.” We were given our life—inclusive of unique interests, skills and feelings—to help others. That’s the way God takes care of us, by working through others—the doctor to treat our ailments, the builder to fix or build our house, the neighbor to check on us from time to time, and hundreds of others who, over our lifetimes help us in some way.
So, as you think about your life and take steps to rebuild or revitalize hope within it, reflect on the individual you are and how you might use your words and actions, even in small ways, to make someone’s life a little better. I guarantee it will make your life “a little better’ as well.
Life is not meant to be easy, my child;
but take heart, it can be delightful.
George Bernard Shaw
By Michael L. Nelson and Chris Peppel
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