God changes not what is in people, until they change what is in themselves.
- The Qu'ran
The greatest opposition that most people face about changing themselves is from themselves.
The greatest deterrent to social change resides with those who want social change but are not willing to do anything to advance the cause.
The most severe reason why our world's worst problems continue and often get worse is because people complain about them but refuse to work together to make anything different.
Why this reluctance? We want to look after ourselves and to protect or secure what we know as our greatest priority.
Nothing in the world changes unless and until humans change it. Excluding climate and weather, of course, which have the ability to change themselves as consequences of outside influences (usually from the sun).
Why do we not want things to change? Most of us face too much change around us every day. We have equipment that breaks down, commitments that get delayed because others didn't keep theirs to us, a bill we forgot to pay on time, upsets with loved ones, weather and illness that prevents us from doing what we had planned. The list of factors that affect our lives is endless and most of them we have little or no control over.
We don't want to have to change ourselves because too much is changing around us already that we can't control. So, what's he big deal? Why are we so focussed on ourselves that we're prepared to ignore problems we could solve elsewhere?
Somebody told us that we should be able to control our lives. Somebody led us to believe that we would one day reach a plateau where we would have mastered enough skills and have enough control that only minor things could go wrong. Somebody told us that one we day we could "have it made." Somebody told us we could have the perfect job and the perfect mate.
Those happened when we were kids. Those same people, trying to be encouraging and helpful, neglected to tell us that we are fallible, that we have weaknesses, that we would inevitably trust people who would lie to us and break our trust, that nobody is perfect including us, that our hearts would be broken. That sometimes life gets us down so much we think it sucks.
They also didn't give us the information we needed to understand that mistakes and failures are inevitabilities of life. Or the skills to be able to cope with life's downturns that sometimes make impending disaster seem certain.
They didn't teach us that worrying produces nothing and only does harm. Worry never solves anything, absolutely nothing. It not only wastes time, it harms our health and often our relationships with those closest to us. We worry when we think something might happen. We worry for ages, though what we worry about almost never happens.
This is the base from which we approach each new day. Change? Who the hell wants change when the world is swirling around us at a pace we can't keep up with?
Here's a suggestion. Let's teach kids the lessons that we wish we had been taught ourselves. Let's give them the tools they need to avoid the pitfalls we have faced and overcome in our lives. They won't avoid the pitfalls and failures, but they will be able to recover from them faster and with less grief.
Let's do that.
That's change though, isn't it? Yet a painless way to change.
While we're at it, teaching our kids, let's teach them about love. Not lust, not love of money (greed), not hero worship or domination, not abuse or addictive behaviour. These things masquerade as love in some places. Let's teach our kids about real love.
We may have to find out what real love is ourselves before we teach it. For those of us who grew up without love in our lives, finding real love is extremely hard. But doable.
That's painless. The lessons have to be searched out for many of us because they aren't taught commonly to all kids.
Let's teach our kids to have self respect and to respect others. If they love themselves, they won't have trouble respecting others. That's easy. And painless.
But it is change. And it won't happen by itself.
A saying I learned as a child went "God helps those who help themselves. And God help those who are caught helping themselves." It was a kind of ironic joke.
I like the version in the holy book better: God changes not what is in people, until they change what is in themselves.
What's to argue? It costs nothing. It will ease the pain of life's miseries.
Eventually it will make for a happier, more loving, more charitable and more peaceful world.
It's worth a little of your time.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a book that provides the means to make social change without upset or revolution. It's a peaceful way to make changes in ways that will not defy any political ideology or religion.
Learn more at http://billallin.com