It's sexy to give a shit about the people around you.
I find myself on Facebook both posting and reading about all of the injustice in the world. The sheer volume of things that are totally messed up makes it feel completely overwhelming and like there is nothing little ol' you can do.
But that's just the thing.
All waves are made up of billions of droplets.
Small things we do in our own lives matter. Even if they only matter within the one block radius around your apartment. If enough people decide that their small things matter, that turns into a wave. And that's how oceans move.
Your challenge this week is to buy a box of granola bars, carry them in your purse so that you always have them with you and offer one to every homeless person or person asking for money that you encounter. Let's stop passing over the real human people in our every day lives when there is something with very low negative impact to us and very high positive impact to someone else that we can do. This is completely within our power to do.
People have mixed feelings about giving money, but offering food is such an easy way to make a small impact. When you think "can I afford to give a dollar or less to help someone survive their way-harder-than-me-being-annoyed-at-someone-for-being-rude-on-a-conference-call day?" The answer is an easy yes.
I spend SO MUCH money at Sephora, you guys. My face is being preserved in the finest of moisturizers and oils. I might not want to give a stranger on the street $200 hard cash, but can I really justify to myself not giving them an apple or a $1.25 Walgreens sandwich? The reality is that I actually can afford that. When I push by, clinging close to my $300 purse, avoiding eye contact and saying "I'm sorry, I don't have anything," I'm not just lying to them but I'm lying to myself.
I once gave a man standing outside of Trader Joe's three Cliff bars. He looked up at me with a look that I will never forget and said "Are all of these for me?!" The sheer appreciation was like something I've never experienced. I changed the outlook of this man's next few days for $3. I can afford $3.
In theory, it's a great idea, but I usually forget to carry food with me and I'll get into these encounters where I say no and am just another person to ignore their request that day. A sexy person is prepared. I like granola bars, because they are compact and won't get all messed up from banging around in my bag. Even though this is something that I've done on occasion, I'm joining this challenge too. I want to have granola bars at the ready to hand out not just to those asking for money, but to those cowering on the sidewalks too.
We get so used to saying no, ignoring and justifying our lack of empathy. We are important instruments in our personal micro universes. We can't rightfully point to another neighborhood, city, country or person and show outrage for their actions unless we can point to our block, the path of our commute and the universe around us and demonstrate where we have taken action.
All of our actions have a ripple effect: positive or negative. And indifferent doesn't mean no effect. Indifference and a failure to take action allows the negative ripples to stay and, as a result, is a negative ripple in itself.
Caring and doing are sexy.