‘Tis the season when many of us start thinking about changes we want to make in the coming year. We talk over potential New Year’s resolutions with our friends and family. Perhaps we focus on improving our personal lives, such as by resolving to eat healthier, get more exercise, and clean up a cluttered house. Or we plan to get involved in volunteer work—serving meals at the homeless shelter, for example, or teaching adult literacy classes at the library. By talking about our plans with others, we give the details more clarity in our own minds and become more determined to follow through.
But the idea of making long-term changes can be discouraging to us, especially in today’s busy and complicated society. It’s hard enough to keep up with everything that’s changing around us—advances in technology, reorganizations at work, and so forth. When we consider how many things need improvement, both in our personal lives and the world in general, we’re likely to feel overwhelmed. It seems like there’s just too much going on that we can’t control. Why even try? It’s easier just to fall back on our familiar comforting habits, even though they may not be good for us in the long run.
I recently had an email conversation along these lines with a friend who described her perspective on changing one’s own life and the world:
Sometimes I feel like all I can do—in a world that can sometimes seem so filled with strife—is continue to be positive in my own life and with my own situation, and then hope that my positivity can radiate out to others and uplift them as well (even if it's just a smile I might share with a stranger). Lately when I meditate, I've been sending bright energies out to envelop Mother Earth. I wish there was something I could do to make everything okay for everybody. And that thought always leads me back to the saying "If you want to save the world, all you need do is save yourself."
After I’d had a few days to reflect on her words, I thought more about positivity in the context of the Internet—and blogging in particular. There are plenty of blogs whose authors write cheerful, kind, uplifting material, but they don’t get much traffic. Although we may browse their blogs on occasion, we may feel that we haven’t got the time to visit more regularly or to write meaningful comments. Meanwhile, political bloggers stir up anger and often have long comment threads full of arguments. This skews the Internet toward negativity, even though most blog owners just write about everyday life.
So—my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to radiate positivity by making time, for an entire year, to visit a different blog each day that focuses on random acts of kindness or other positive themes. I’ll write a detailed comment on each of these blogs, describing why I enjoyed it and thanking the author for creating it. At the least, this will make 365 blog authors happier, as well as improving my own mood by giving me positive reading material daily. And I’m hoping other bloggers will join in, which would magnify the effects exponentially! If you’re interested in participating, please visit my new Random Kindness Blog Tour page.
Meg Evans lives in Vandalia, Ohio, with her husband; has two grown children; works in the legal publishing industry; and serves as the Board Secretary of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.