Jean-François Millet, l’Arcobaleno (The Rainbow) Wikimedia Commons. (Saliko, Author.)
“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”
Making a difference means affecting the world around us in a way that is helpful and contributory to constructive change.
It means that you will leave this world having had some kind of beneficial influence on it, on others, no matter how small.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are many ways to make a difference in this world, too many to list; however here are some lessons I have learnt about making a difference:
- Be Mindful Of Kindness….
Light in the Forest. Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902) Wikimedia Commons.
“Kindness can transform someone’s dark moment with a blaze of light. You’ll never know how much your caring matters. Make a difference for another today.”
Amy Leigh Mercree
Kindness matters; it can have so many different aspects. Love, tenderness, gentleness, helpfulness, consideration, empathy, giving, attentive listening, friendliness….. all these come under the generous and spreading umbrella of kindness.
“A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
Dinah Maria Craik
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida – Doctor Joaquín Decref y Ruiz . Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
Roy T. Bennett
We do indeed have the choice to be kind. Being one’s best self is definitely something to aim for, every day of our lives.
We can consciously opt for kindness rather than meanness, intolerance, or grouchiness….
“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.”
In making this choice, we have also decided to make a difference.
By being there for others, even in the smallest way, we will make an impact that can enhance a moment, an hour, a day, perhaps a life.
“We are our choices.”
2. “Create something…”
Andy Warhol – Portrait of Ingrid Bergman. Flickr.
“Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”
“In a time of destruction, create something.”
Maxine Hong Kingston
Being creative, in whatever way, can affect others powerfully.
The gift of a painting to a friend, a hand-made Christmas card, a piece of writing, poetry, stirring music, or any work with a strong social message can, indeed, change the world.
Oskar Kokoschka – The Power of the Music  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Music can change the world because it can change people.”
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”
“Writing and giving voice to what I am feeling makes me happy. And supporting people in finding their voice, passion, outrage and resistance. There is nothing better than that.”
There are innumerable ways of being creative, and creativity can change the world in countless ways.
Frida Kahlo (1907 -1954) was an artist who had a considerable influence on her world at the time, and after her death.
Her life was filled with suffering and tragedy; she had polio as a child and was severely injured in an accident at age 15, which left her with lifelong pain and considerable disability.
Despite all this, she became a brilliant artist, of great influence in terms of her feminism, her spirit of survival and empowerment when faced with tragedy, and her voice as a person of mixed heritage.
She certainly made a unique difference to the world.
“Art ruffles feathers…”
Nanette L. Avery
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns, 1940. Wikimedia Commons
“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
3. Remember The Importance Of Thinking Differently.
“You can’t make a difference in an echo chamber.”
When some closed and fixed groups of people share views, perhaps on the internet, and no one is permitted to express doubts or contrary opinions, people can become radically self-absorbed in their own unchanging ideologies and the group’s shared echo-chamber culture.
Such group pressure to conform can be powerful.
There is no opportunity for dissent, diversity, or contradiction; everyone will have to toe the party line. There will be no new ways of thinking, no learning, and no difference will be made to anyone or anything.
“Tyranny sets up its own echo-chamber.”
Thinking differently may invite admiration or criticism. It takes courage to think differently,
Whatever happens, new ways of thinking will be noticed and can lead to change, as illustrated by these images and quotations:
Marcel Duchamp. Fountain. Wikimedia Commons.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
‘Kissing Coppers.” Banksy mural artwork on the side of the disused Astoria Cinema. 2004.Author: David Anstiss
“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland.
“Those who make a difference in this world are the ones who are not afraid of being different.”
Michael Bassey Johnson
We can achieve much by working individually, but, in order to expand and enlarge our efforts, we may need someone else, or a team of people.
Finding others with the similar aims is a way of working collaboratively to make a difference.
“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.”
4. Be Aware Of The Importance Of Little Things And Small Beginnings…..
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
No matter how small is our thoughtful action, our protest, or our good deed, we can still change the world.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
“Look closely. The beautiful may be small.”
When I began writing this blog, some years ago, I felt uncertain about whether anyone would want to read it. I was writing away in my little corner of the world and I felt very small and unnoticed.
The number of views were few, and I received only the odd comment. Was it worth continuing? Could my words make any difference?
I felt low and discouraged for a while, and quite alone with these feelings, despite the encouragement of family and friends.
Then I came across this quotation :
“Don’t make art for other artists or for ‘intellectuals’, make art for people – and if you can touch just one person in a lifetime and make a difference – you have succeeded.”
I realised then, that if my post reached just one person, if even one reader appreciated my writings, that made my endeavours worthwhile. I was making a difference, in a small way.
As a result of this I persevered, despite the small readership and only having about 10 views per day. I learnt more ways to spread the word about waysofthinking.co.uk.
Gradually, people began to notice me; my weekly views proliferated. My followers- and my confidence- increased.
I continued to write and expand my readership, with the help of all who read and publicised this blog. My highest daily viewings grew to 1500.
Twitter and Facebook continue to be sites where so many thoughtful and thinking people send me encouraging comments and helpful feedback, as well as on the blog itself.
I now realise that I am making a difference.
There is no financial gain. What I have wanted is to share my experience and knowledge about life and therapy and have dialogues with and feedback from like-minded people. That, for me, is making a difference.
This has, indeed, happened, and it continues to happen.
A very sincere thank you to every one of you who does support me. You are important to me. Please keep your feedback coming. It really helps and makes such a difference!
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Windows depicting Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton in the west wall of the Great Hall of Hill Bark, Frankby.
Design of the left two by Edward Burne-Jones, all made by William Morris Company. 2019(Author: Rodhullandemu.)
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
5. Be Aware That Internal Change Is Reflected On The Outside…
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May. 1909. John William Waterhouse. Wikimedia Commons.
” A little fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.”
Exchanging self-interest for caring for others can only improve our mood and our ways of thinking. We will have stronger relationships and better mental health ourselves.
If we work on our own problems, maybe with the help of others, sometimes in therapy, then we will be freer to turn our attention outwards.
“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”
During the pandemic, it has been extra difficult to help others. Yet people have succeeded in changing the world, in ways small and big.
Caring for the sick, helping neighbours who are ill or housebound, discovering vaccines and medications, volunteering, all these and more have changed the world in which we now live.
If we wish to see the world change, we need to be involved in making that difference. We may have to change ourselves first.
Richard Linderum. The Soup Kitchen. 1900. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
If you have benefited from reading this blog, you can change your world, and mine, by becoming a follower!
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© Linda Berman.