Lately I have struggled to listen to world news. I cannot remember a time in my almost 40 years where division, racism and fear have been as strong in our world as they are right now.
Living in Australia, I am eternally grateful for so many things, but even here, in a country that is usually proud of its ‘matey’, friendly and usually welcoming culture, there seems to be more division than ever before.
At times I find it easiest to distance my mind from troubling world events- to turn the news off, to not listen- but that is not helpful either. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the growing sentiments of fear around us.
We may not be able to change the lives of anyone in Syria, the Middle East or in the many other parts of the world that are currently experiencing terrible tragedy but that is not a reason to do nothing.
But what can we do? How can we individually and together start to address on a daily basis the division and unrest that is growing around us?
Most of us don’t have the capacity to fly to the other side of the world, to throw large amounts of money at a solution or to even understand the hundreds of years of history that are sitting beneath some of our racial divides.
But at the core, we are all people. We all have the capacity to care for and influence those around us whether they be our loved ones, friends, colleagues or even just the people who cross our paths each day as we go about our lives.
This week I have spent a lot of time thinking about ways that I could be a ‘better person’, ways that I could try to make the world around me a ‘better place’ and in doing so I have a long list of things that I will continue to work towards. But right now, there are three things that I think we can all do right now to make our world a better place-
1. Be Kind. Always.
I often use the saying ‘kill them with kindness’ when it comes to dealing with difficult people in my life. Kindness is a trait that exists within all of us that can so easily be practised but so rarely is with purpose.
But what does it really mean to be kind? Perhaps it is different for all of us but for me, ‘to be kind’ is to be calm, considered, generous and friendly. We all have it within ourselves to be kind with every single person that we meet- no matter the situation and right now our world needs a big dose of human kindness! Make it your mission to ‘be kind’ at every turn.
2. Be Curious, not Judgmental
Everywhere we turn we are faced with judgment. Whether it be on social media, on our TV’s, in our newspapers- we spend our days ‘judging’ the lives, decisions, beliefs of others and to what end? Curiosity is a beautiful human trait best expressed by young children. I look at my daughter at the ripe old age of 4 as she explores the world- she has no judgment, no fear and everything around her is a new, exciting and curious experience to be explored and understood. If only as adults we could recreate some of that childlike curiosity in our lives.
We are curious when we poke around with wonder, really trying to work something out- to better understand. Just ask ‘Why?’- Why is a person thinking, saying feeling or doing something that we perhaps don’t agree with? Understanding may not mean that you agree with a point of view, a belief or even a decision, but curiosity helps us to do our best to see the world from another person’s point of view.
Be curious to better understand things being said and done around you- something else our world could do with a lot of right now.
3. Have and demonstrate empathy
When we have empathy for another we are able to stand in their shoes- to imagine their emotions, thoughts and feelings. Right now we need to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others more than ever before. I have heard it said that empathy is the beginning of compassionate action. We need compassion in our dealings with others always and we certainly need compassionate action to manage so many of the challenges those around our world are facing right now.
Perhaps it is my work- seeing people with their hearts breaking- that reminds me daily just what really matters for most of us when all is said and done. We are all on this earth for such a short time- all with our own dreams for our lives, all of which we have every right to achieve, as long as we are not harming those around us.
Accepting, understanding and embracing difference brings so much beauty to our lives. The most wonderful thing for me about all of us are our differences- yes we may have so many similarities, but we are all unique- that is the most beautiful thing in this world. Exploring and supporting our differences rather than judging and creating division has to be the way forward for our world.
Kindness, curiosity and empathy cost us nothing, take no more time than anything else and when practiced, have the power to create unity rather than division, understanding rather than racism and courage rather than fear.
As you go about your day today, be kind, be curious and have empathy for those around you and let’s see if we can start to make our world a kinder, calmer and more unified place to be.
Clarissa Rayward is a Divorce Lawyer & Mediator and the Owner of Brisbane Family Law Centre. Over the past 14 years, Clarissa has worked with over 2000 families during separation and divorce. She specialises in assisting her clients to experience a dignified divorce- staying away from the Court process and finding sustainable agreements for the future.
This past year Clarissa has begun to tackle the challenging issue of unhappiness in the legal profession through her writing and weekly Podcast ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ where once a week she interviews lawyers who have found a way to maintain a successful career in the law while not giving up their life outside of their career.
If you or someone you know needs assistance during divorce or perhaps you are a lawyer looking for better ways to practice law, you can organise a complimentary 15 minute phone appointment with Clarissa or one of her team here.
Book your complimentary chat with Clarissa here