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In a Dysfunctional World, You Still Get To Choose Your Impact

2020 has been an easy year…

An easy year to lose faith in humanity.

In our daily lives now, we’re bombarded with reasons to believe the world is on fire and society is falling apart. Sometimes it feels like it assuredly is. We are assaulted with hundreds, thousands of news stories about why the world is divided, the evidence that humanity is doomed.

This year has turned us against each other. It has forced us all to take a stance whether we want to or not. More importantly, we are warned to never, ever depart from that side we’ve picked once we’ve adopted it. It’s turned neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend. It’s made us all want to climb into our own little quarantine holes and forget about the rest of the world. It’s made us all suspicious and guarded.

In short, we’ve stopped seeing goodness in the world. Maybe we’ve stopped looking for it.

We could argue here about why that is. We could blame politics, the pandemic. We could get into one of the myriad divisive arguments available at our fingertips. We could rant and rage until our faces are red and our faith in each other is burned to the ground.

I hope instead we do something so many of us haven’t for a while.

I hope we stop. We breathe. We listen and be still.

And then I hope we remember this: We all still have the power to leave a positive mark on this world.

I know that change is necessary in so many areas of our society. I know that change is never easy or smooth. It requires bold actions by innovative, courageous warriors who aren’t afraid to be heard. I know that change creates chaos and turmoil.

But I also know this. Sometimes the biggest changes don’t happen solely in flashy, broadcasted, revolutionary shows. Change can happen on a much smaller level and still be felt.

So, to the quiet warriors, I say this: We need you. We need everyone.

We need everyone to remember that like the story of the girl throwing the starfish out to sea, we might not all be called to take a monumental action that will be seen by all. For some of us, the best way we can help bring goodness back into the world is to remember that we have the power for goodness in our individual lives.

We have the power to choose to act on our values in the small worlds around us. We have the power to extend forgiveness, hope, kindness, empathy, charity, positivity, and change in our daily lives. It might not make the news. It might not even feel like it is making a ripple.

But it is. Every single time you choose to stand for what you believe in, big or small, you make a difference. Every time you choose to be and see the goodness, despite the chaos around you, you are making a difference.

The shouting voices in the crowd make an impact. But so do the whispering ones who are choosing to lead by example, to live a life true to their core values. The people who extend graciousness to a stranger in a time of uncertainty. The people who smile at everyone around them. The people who teach their kids to show empathy, to be giving, to leave a positive mark on the world.

It 2020, it is easy to lose faith in humanity—but it can also be easy to rediscover it if you look in your own life, look inward, and remember that every day, your choices can be a reflection of the world you want to leave behind.

Choose kindness. Choose empathy. Most of all, choose to remember, that brave warrior or quiet warrior, you are strong enough to make an impact in this world.

What impact will you choose to make?

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by Lindsay Detwiler

Lindsay Detwiler is a high school English teacher and a USA TODAY Bestselling author with HarperCollins/One More Chapter. Her debut thriller, The Widow Next Door, is an international bestseller. Her second novel, The One Who Got Away, released in February with One More Chapter/HarperCollins. Her latest novel, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, has been called "dark, unique, and a must-read in the thriller genre."

Lindsay is married to her junior high sweetheart. She prides herself on writing about genuine, raw emotions for the modern woman.


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