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While we waited for LOVE programs to begin the other day, my friend and I were engaged in one of our enthralling conversations about many interesting things, amongst which her love for the quote “Be the change”.

Here goes the executive summary of our riveting exchange: often, we yearn for the world (and people!) around us to change to match our internal story about how things should be. The dissatisfaction and frustration that ensues becomes apparent during group discussions. It can feel great to engage in a mass venting session, whether it’s about how parents’ expectations can sometimes weighs heavily, about how government policies may feel unacceptable, about how relationships, friendships… you name it! are so tough and how awesome it would be if our feelings and opinions could be validated all the time. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which way you look at it), life just doesn’t work that way!

Hence the whole “be the change” thing: it can be much less painful, not to mention kinder, to change our own attitude than to try to change other people’s. Often it seems the things that upset us most about others are things that we have also done in one shape or form but are unwilling to admit to, take responsibility or forgive ourselves for. Noticing how everything, whether upsetting or happiness inducing, is just a reflection of our inner-selves, is extremely liberating. It can also make it increasingly difficult to find any reason at all to get angry (sound familiar, LOVE participants?)

Now does that mean we should all be trying to change ourselves? Forcing change on ourselves or others sounds a little, well, violent… Being the change sounds gentler, like practicing unconditional love towards ourselves and others, including loving what seems like darker, less socially acceptable facets of our personalities. Being the change can also mean being really honest with oneself about one’s motives, feelings and fears. Then the change is no longer forced, it just happens 🙂