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A Call For Change
When life’s circumstances present themselves to us, we are quick to judge. But sometimes life gives a second chance and waits for us to put on different lenses. Fortunately, I was gifted the opportunity to think twice, to sit and analyze, to question why, to deconstruct, go to the root and build back up, as humanely and lovingly as I could. That is how a new definition of community arose within me, making me realize that there was something to change: people need new lenses, and so do we.
When I say people need new lenses, I refer to the expectations we have of “others”, those who are not “us”, those that are the ones in need of change. Because “us” is good, “us” doesn’t need change. Right? No, not right. It’s both sides that need new lenses, new perspectives, new ways to discover, to interact.
I will not say this was an easy task, nor will I tell you that I did not refuse at first - the idea of changing, of accepting that some lenses were wrong, and accepting that those wrong lenses could be mine, was hard. That is why I fought back with everything I had: an inception of knowledge brought about by society and its stigmas, a sense of selfishness and intolerance, a feeling of self-survival against all odds. Everything I knew to be true fell apart, and in my heart, I knew I had to listen for answers.
Those answers did not come in an express shipping package, but they did have the faces of all the people I once had a chance to help, but could not; the faces of the many incorrect assumptions I had sustained throughout my life without looking for verification; and the acknowledgement of the many opportunities that were still lying ahead, right in front of my eyes.
That is why finding a mission like Alana Athletica’s was truly inspiring and eye-opening. Women are the light bearers, they bring life into the world, they bring the children that we will one day educate, the same ones who will grow up to re-shape society. Caring to empower, educate and employ those women – who have been less fortunate than others – is something one can get behind, unquestionably.
After realizing that change starts within, I brought myself to take action in my community. For those wondering, it does not necessarily mean going to a physical location. Our involvement with those around us – people and places – can take on all shapes, and it not only creates intrinsic change in the community, but it also changes us. That is probably the most important notion here - understanding the level of impact that we have on one another when we behave as one, as a whole, as part of the same system, as brothers and sisters all trying to make it, from any ethnic background, from whatever race, religion, or skin tone. We all aim for the same goal, and that is survival on Earth through love.
That is how we are supposed to truly learn, how we are shaped over and over again to become the citizens that the world needs. It is in the living of the community that one finds the keys to the kingdom, and as poetic as it may sound, the kingdom and the keys do exist, and I mean this in an emotional and spiritual sense. There is no physical throne, as we are all the same, but we exist in a physical frame, and we need to help each other coexist in it, while doing so in a sustainable manner.
But when I faced the idea of truly engaging with the community, I was afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of not knowing how to help, afraid of being able to communicate, and afraid of the robot that society had raised me to be.
It was time to confront fear either way, and it was time for the community to confront it as well. You see, both sides are afraid. We humans usually reject change, and most of the time, we run away from what we do not know, from that which can turn our thoughts the other way around, from that which can hurt us and make us feel vulnerable, because it is frightening to see everything we know as normal vanish with change.
Because of my willingness to truly do something helpful, I felt my heart open. I felt open to letting the community teach me, not only about them, but about myself. I was open to change and diversity. I was open to them - the eyes I hadn’t seen, the voices I hadn’t heard, the hearts I hadn’t felt. I was ready to give without an agenda, and to share my experiences and voice as a platform for change. I believe that one connects more with others when one comes from a place within, when we reveal who we truly are on the inside and share our deepest fears and insecurities, our lifelong goals and dreams.
I first tried to put myself in their shoes as much as I could because, in my opinion and from my new way of looking at people, we can only understand somebody when we become them, when we try to perceive life from their standpoint and that of their experiences, without the footprint of our own background or subjectivity. It is very hard to do, but as we try more, we feel and understand more.
We made an effort to talk to women in the community about ways in which they could improve their family’s wellbeing. The beauty is that as they began to engage with information, they discovered more resources and knowledge to deal with everyday scenarios, and solidified their ability to apply said knowledge into creating a positive and impactful life for their families and others around them.
I have to confess that I was skeptical when it came to believing that we could actually generate change in the world, but after learning about how other people and communities come together to create impact, I was converted. I saw that it was possible, and that we only needed our own will to do it, plus human force and faith. Change not only depends on external forces, but on our own willingness and responsibility to create it.
When you are convinced that change is possible, you become its ambassador, and you preach wherever you go. But this personal stance (for me) did not come alone; it was after questioning a professor’s point of view, after she guided us to search beneath the surface, the possibilities that we had not come to understand; that I finally comprehended what my new approach was – whenever I see potential for growing, I will try to make it my mission to allow it to bloom no matter the circumstance.
We all have the need for change within us. Sometimes all it takes is to acknowledge it, and sometimes it takes a whole lot more than that. But what I am sure of, now that I had this one-to-one experience, is that it really takes one person that cares to make others care as well.
My goal now looks much different than the one I had in mind at first - I want to help people from the get-go. I want to be able to generate change from the inside out, for I believe an empowered individual can do more for others when they know they have the power and the tools to do so.
We’re all the same in our most basic fears, goals, and dreams, but it is our way of looking at the world, by means of the circumstances we grew under, that shapes our different patterns of behavior. We need to work on our understanding of those different backgrounds to be able to reach common ground through communication, so that our actions help each other thrive and create positive change.
Because whomever we think we are seeing is seeing us back; everyone we look at, looks right back at us. We are a community, a family-like community, a local community, a global community, and we need one other.
The most important takeaway from my experience belongs with those lenses that I commented on at the beginning of this reflection. Whenever and wherever we want to bring a helping hand, we need to do it from an inclusive perspective, with the understanding that we are all different, and consequently, have different ways of approaching what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, and to also understand that we can see the world, in the same way that the world sees us. It’s important to remember that we all have opinions and biases, and that they are all valid as long as they do not collide with our main goal - to help each other live sustainable, empowered, loving, thriving lives. We should make an effort to not let life feel forced to give us a second chance this time.
And what better way to achieve positive change than creating it ourselves? The idea is to pass it on, to inspire others to do so, to be the leader we so desperately look for. Being socially responsible is a great way to begin our impactful journeys.
*To become an [IMPACT] leader today, click here.