Be the Change: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” –Mahatma Gandhi

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” is the simplistic version of this quote. That seems pretty straight forward, but what does it look like in practice? How can changing ourselves really affect change in the rest of the world?

I decided to tackle this question as a three part series on self-awareness and how this internally directed mindfulness really is the embodiment of “be the change.”

As the quote suggests, the world from the points of view of many people, is in need of a change. There’s a lot of anger, fear and hatred being tossed about on a global scale (isn’t there always?).

One of the most common questions I hear from people who have recently started questioning their reality is, “Why do bad things happen? Why are there so many atrocities in the world?”

There are atrocities in the world because we have so many traumatized, wounded humans walking around inflicting more trauma. Hurt people hurt people. We have generational trauma that’s been handed down through the ages. We have self-perpetuating systems which were created by traumatized people that inflict more trauma on the people who come after them. And until we collectively heal that trauma, the world will be full consequences.

Especially for the empathic, this question can seem like a bottomless pit of question marks. How can you process things that seem so senseless and violent, things that are so far from what the majority of us perceive as good and love and light, in a spiritual way?

These things make us angry. They make us afraid. How does that serve us?

It’s telling you that you do not condone these actions. It’s giving you an indicator of who you are.

It’s showing you contrast, which helps you truly appreciate the good things you see in the world, particularly what is around you.

It’s giving you an opportunity to feel empathy for the plight of other human beings.

It’s giving you the opportunity to make a choice: will the anger and fear that you feel be reflected back out into the world through your choices and actions resultant from those feelings, thus continuing the cycle?

Or will you respond with unconditional love for yourself and for others, which is the ultimate statement of who you want to be and simultaneously ends the fear cycle and begins a new one based in love?

Every single horrible thing in the world is pushing that awareness and choice into the collective consciousness of humanity, urging us to heal ourselves, and by proxy, heal the world around us. Those things continue to happen because as a whole, we have not evolved past them. There are still too many wounded people in the world inflicting their pain onto others.

So long as the opportunity presents itself and the majority of people choose fear over love, choose to act from their wounds instead of healing… the cycle will continue, because it’s self-perpetuated. Hurt people will continue to hurt people.

So how do we choose love? And what does that have to do with healing ourselves? Stay tuned for part two.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3



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