Maybe you’re feeling bitter and frustrated and like everyone around you has it so much easier than you. Maybe you’re drowning in your jealousy and can’t take a breath long enough to see past that envy. Maybe you’re being kind, compassionate, thoughtful, while everyone around you is actively being the opposite of those things. Maybe all you’re seeing is sadness around you and all you want is a hint of a light, just a sunbeam, anything. Maybe it continues to be a long winter, regardless of the weather. Maybe you’re just done. So done. With people, with your family, with your friendships, with your lover, with your job, with everything. Maybe you’re wondering what the point is, why you are the only one trying to grow and better yourself when others seem content to settle into their lives, to be the same person they were ten, twenty, thirty years ago. Maybe you’ve forgotten what you care about. Maybe your passion has vacated the damn building and you’re alone with nothing to hold onto, nothing to look forward to. Maybe everything sucks and nothing is okay.
First: you are not alone. That is important. Imprint that upon yourself.
Second: They say it’s darker right before the dawn, but how do you know when you’re in the darkest hour? How do you know it’s not going to get much, much worse before it gets any better? How do you hold out hope when you have no reason to be hopeful? How do you fight against the constant barrage of evidence that tells you there is nothing more to life, that this is it, this is all there is? How do you stand for love when so many seem to stand for hate? How do you stay authentic and true when there are so many making demands on you to be someone else, someone they can accept, someone easier to digest?
You simply do.
There are no other options even though it may seem like there are other options. There are not. The only purity is love. The only true connection is built with compassion and vulnerability. The only way to see anything change in this world is to effectively become the change, day after tireless day. It is thankless work, but it is necessary.
If your heart so yearns to see progress in this world, then you can do nothing except first embody the progress. If you can become this downtrodden by the lack of love and compassion in this world, then your heart is in it. You are all in this battle, whether you feel like you’re in it right now or not. You’re there, dear. You’re doing it.
Whatever you yearn from others, you must become. That is the only way. People do not change overnight—remember: you are people, as well—but they do change, brick by tiny brick. Things move, things change. It happens. It really does.
And, you can’t stop going. You can’t just let this world swallow you. You have to peel your beaten self off the pavement and find your legs again, find that strength again. This world will give you no reasons to believe in it, to believe in goodness and love and light, so you must become that reason for others. Every day, seek to become the reason someone else believes in love. Seek to become the reason someone else believes in the compassion of others. Be the empathy. Be the counteractive force against hate. Be someone else’s miracle, even if it’s just a kind wave into your lane on the highway or a genuine smile to the barista. You never know whose day you are changing. You just don’t. You’ll never know how you are perceived. You don’t know if—on your worst days—you’ve given someone a reason to believe in love. You simply don’t know. This is thankless work—the work of care and compassion and the constant denial of the impulse to hate and the impulse to become someone’s reason to stop believing in others.
If you need a passion, here’s one. Seek to give people a reason to believe in love—whether it’s strangers, friends, your Facebook list, your Tumblr friends, your mom, your family, whoever. I could personally do better at this and so can you. We all could. If that was everyone’s goal, can you imagine the transformation? Can you imagine what we could all do, what we’d all believe in, how we’d treat each other? It starts with one—you. So, keep going. Do not be swallowed. Rise. Always continue to rise.