How to make a difference, when your desired changes seem to be out of reach and beyond the actions of a single individual?
This is a common question, that probably many people had before. The lack of engagement of individuals within a community, can have a lot of different sources. And the idea that they cannot make a difference is a crucial one.
In this post I’ll focus in the different ways where you can promote a positive change in your life. I like to organize it organize it in 3 different levels: National or Global level, Local level and Personal level.
All of them are important to promote change, specially if tackled at the same time. But people tend forget the local and personal level, as a form of activism. And in my opinion these are exactly those that will help you to make a real difference. Specially in the (top-down) Western Democracies, where there is this illusion that the only difference you can make is by acting at a National level (for example, voting in a political candidate).
The action in a national or global level is the most obvious one. This includes everything related to voting, national laws, political parties, strikes, petitions, helping or volunteering in NGOs, … You might think it’s a waste of time, but it is not. Sometimes is the only way to open the door for the real change – that happens on the other 2 levels.
The local action is what you can do in your local community. Promoting action at this level will determine how your community confronts and relates to internal and external problems. It creates a deeper sense of belonging in the community individuals and an overall resilience to impacts from the external world. This action level includes everything related to the organization and daily life of the community – the local politics, the way people organize in community, the way they rely on each other, …
Changing your own habits, as a way of protest and a way of giving the example, is very powerful. It gives a sense of coherence and inspiration to those around you. But remember not force it – if you don’t feel happy, you shouldn’t do it. There is no good in passing onto others a feeling of suffering and sadness, when you are trying to leave up to your own Utopia and inspire others to do the same.
Independently on how you make a difference, you’ll have to deal with a lot of emotions while confronted with the need for deep change. In this sense, whether it is at a personal, group or even global level, you should embrace this inner transition. Fortunately there are already a lot of work done at this area by Transition Movement, with their groups of Inner Transition. Check it out!