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Why I stopped trying to save the world

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to save the world. Not just wanted to -- needed to. As a child I always had this deep-rooted feeling that I was meant to do something meaningful with my life. To change the world for the better, on a large scale. I’m not sure where it came from, but I haven’t been able to shake it. All the way into adulthood, this overwhelming certainty that I NEED to make a difference in the world has stuck with me.

At times, it’s pretty overwhelming. There is just so much struggle, pain, suffering, and horror going on in the world. How could little old me even begin to solve world hunger? What about child sex trafficking? The global environmental crisis? How about animal abuse? The list goes on. And when you really sit down and think about it, it eventually becomes obvious that one person cannot even make a dent in solving the entirety of the bad things going on in the world.

Many times these thoughts would trigger self-doubt, sadness, hopelessness. If there’s no way I can solve every problem going on in the world, why even try at all? No matter what I do, there’s still going to be terrible things happening.

I started to feel resentment towards any of the effort I was putting in. Why am I going through all the trouble of sorting my recycling, when there are millions of barrels of oil being burned daily by corporations? Why am I donating my hard earned dollars for Greenpeace to save the whales, when the aquarium down the street still has a line out the door? These thoughts weighed heavily on my mind, and contributed to my already debilitating anxiety and depression.

Aside from the problems and suffering happening on a world-wide level, I’ve also always felt immense empathy and compassion for people’s suffering on a personal level. Like I mentioned, I have experienced my fair share of mental health struggles including anxiety, depression, and ADHD. So I know firsthand that some of the worst pain can be happening inside your own head. After struggling for years, all I ever wanted was to ease the suffering of myself and others.

Being raised in a holistic lifestyle, I was taught to find natural remedies to our health problems rather than turning to prescription medications. Although I do believe that medication is sometimes necessary, I usually try to find a different solution first. So while trying to address my mental health issues, I ended up doing hundreds of hours of research to figure out what exactly was wrong with me and how to fix it.

This research led me to lots of trial and error of many different herbal remedies, supplements, etc. until I finally was able to cure my depression, and later on my anxiety. (Still working on the ADHD!) There are a few key discoveries that have been crucial to supporting my mental health, including Omega-3s, Magnesium, and a consistent meditation practice. But more on that later.

As I successfully started to heal my mental health, the old “save the world” mentality started to run wild with this concept as well. I had figured it out! I had eased my suffering! I could now help everyone else in the whole world who was suffering! I would cure them! I had visions of me being the next Tony Robbins or Brene Brown. Or some world-famous meditation guru. My message needs to be heard by EVERYONE in the world, so they can stop being in pain!

Well as you may have guessed, that plan kinda fell through as well. Although I’m grateful for every one of my 11 thousand instagram followers, just sharing to them seemed insignificant. I wanted to spread my message to the whole world. But that just wasn’t gonna happen.

And there’s another problem. Just because something worked for me, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. And even if it would work for them, doesn’t mean they would actually do it. Have you ever had a friend who just keeps repeating the same destructive behavior over and over, and won’t listen to any of your advice? Sometimes people simply aren’t ready to change, until they are. As much as I want to shout from the rooftops that a few supplements and some meditation will literally change your life, I felt deep down that no one would actually listen.

Again, the frustration set in once I realized that I couldn’t help everyone in the world. Any spark of inspiration to start a self-help blog would be quickly extinguished by the thought, “is anyone even going to take my advice? What’s the point of putting in all this effort if its not even going to help anyone?” I went back and forth about starting a blog for years, since I always thought my efforts would be futile.

Alas, here we are, and I have now started a blog! So obviously something changed. Over the past few years, slowly but surely, my solution fell into place.

No, I’m not going to stop caring. Because I can’t. But the turning point came when I realized something huge, which can summed up in this famous quote: be the change you wish to see in the world. It may be cliche, but it’s the truth. As much as I may want to snap my fingers and make the world a better place, the only thing I really have control over is myself.

So from now on, I am focused on changing my own world for the better. That means being true to myself, living authentically, doing things because I feel it’s the right thing for me. So I’m going to keep sorting my recycling. Greenpeace will still be receiving my $10/month. And I will be sharing my life experiences and mental health research on my blog, whether I think it will help anyone or not.

Because in my world, it makes all the difference.

Photo by Meiying Ng on Unsplash

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