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"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him." –Mahatma Gandhi
The quote above from Gandhi (often paraphrased as “be the change you wish to see in the world”) is a powerful statement about the way each person influences the world. But when we look at the problems that exist in the world, both personally and globally, sometimes it’s hard to feel like we can make a difference. Can one person really have the power to change the world?
"When you change you, you change the world."
On one hand, when our egos become inflated, we believe we are in control of everything and have the power to do anything. On the other hand, we sometimes feel powerless and don’t recognize the incredible opportunities that the Creator gives us every day. The truth is that we can’t control everything, but we can control ourselves, and the more that we learn to do so, the more influence we have in the world.
Let’s explore some of the ways that changing ourselves can change the world.
1. We teach others by the example we set.
It is often said that a smile is contagious. When we see people doing good in the world and spreading positivity, it inspires us. It reminds us that we can always work a little bit harder to be better versions of ourselves. And when we do so, it further inspires other people. It is a beautiful cycle.
Children are the greatest example of this. Children watch everything their elders do, often mimicking their behavior and even the way they speak. If you’ve ever watched a child playing school and pretending to be a teacher, they often recite their teachers’ lessons and mannerisms nearly verbatim. We know that as children grow up, they subconsciously adopt characteristics of their parents, as well. Watching others and adopting their behaviors becomes an integral part of their personality.
In this way, we are all very much children of the world. We learn and grow from one another, just by watching each other. People notice the way we act and treat others, even when we don’t realize it. We can’t change other people, but we have the opportunity to inspire them to change. The more that we act from a place of selfless sharing, the more we motivate others to do the same.
2. Our actions affect the world in ways we don’t see.
If you’ve ever seen a movie or read a book about time travel, you know that one of the fundamental rules of going into the past is that you can’t change anything. Even the smallest action has a ripple effect that can cause massive changes to the future. It’s funny that we so easily accept this concept, yet often fail to realize the same is true in our present lives. Everything we do, no matter how small or large, impacts the future of the world.
When we transform our selfish nature into one of sharing, we set off a chain of events that we may be completely unaware of. The more connected we become to the Creator, the more we open ourselves to the Light and Creator and the more Light we are able to reveal in the world. This is when obstacles disappear, blessings are made manifest, and miracles happen.
3. We are connected to everything in the world.
If you were to look at the universe at a microscopic level, you would see that everything is made up of shifting molecules. In fact, it is an illusion that we are separate physical beings. Even our genetic makeup is only about 0.1% different from one another. Essentially, we are all made of the same elements in a giant sea of energy.
When we think about the world this way, it’s not hard to imagine how our energy can influence the world. The ancient wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that the more control you are able to gain over your energy, the more your influence spreads out into the world. You can transform your energy through your thoughts and actions into a positive force in the world. This positive force influences everything from other people to the furniture in the room to the molecules in the air.
When we talk about some of the most influential people in history, we often neglect to think about the fact that many of them never saw the fruits of their labor. Martin Luther King, Jr. died just days before the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed. He never got to see his dream realized, yet he is regarded one of the most important figures of the Civil Rights Movement.
It is so important to remember that our influence goes beyond what we can see. The changes we make in ourselves reverberate across the universe in ways we cannot perceive and even long after we have left the physical world.
Our thoughts and actions have incredible power. It is up to us to choose how to use that power.
When you change you, you change the world.