I was never one to really think too much about things. I wasn’t someone who wanted to fight for the environment, save the whales, save the forests or change the world.

I wasn’t a dweller or one to think too much about how my actions or reactions affected others around me. I thought as long as I was happy, healthy & wasn’t hurting anyone then I was okay. And then one day I stopped, and reflected.

Maybe I matured a little, or I was becoming spiritually closer to Allah swt and/or the realization that I was actually a small puzzle piece in a bigger picture; and I was somewhat obligated to fulfill my role to achieve a greater cause.

I took a moment to reflect on my life, which is an ongoing process. I questioned were I was at, where I was heading, what I wanted to achieve and more importantly; my purpose.

It’s not until you answer the tough questions, you realize and accept that you are not only in control of your life and accountable for your actions but also for the actions of those around you.

Understanding & accepting that having a negative outlook will affect people negatively; literally. But more importantly, having a positive outlook, positive interactions and positive conversations would in turn affect those around you in a positive way.

What is more powerful is the repercussions of this positivity. The people you interact with, be it family, a friend, colleagues or strangers are more likely to continue on the positive path. Which is such a powerful tool to have, especially in the current world climate we are living in.

So naturally when I assessed what I wanted to discuss so many issues came to the fore front – I could easily discuss Palestine, the additions to the loaded terror laws, or even your career & having a work/life balance?

All these topics are hungry for attention, talk time & debate. They are all issues one can obsess about endlessly with the hope of making a change. However the question needed to be asked; how much control does one really have to individually impact large-scale issues without having to deal with changing oneself?

Me personally; I’d love to be able to wipe the unnecessary pain, suffering and undue hardships of every single Palestinian that has ever gone through or will go through. Putting their race, religion and geographic struggle aside how can anyone neglect to address their simple basic human rights. While we enjoy the freedoms we have in wonderful Australia; I find it hard to accept why the world continues to allow such atrocities to continue.

I also find it difficult to reconcile the way the current government is treating me- I’m no different to the average Aussie out there; I have concerns and fears like anyone else, I should feel proud, connected and happy to be an Australian, I was born, raised & educated here, I know no other home. So why does the government think it’s okay to make me feel like I have done something wrong or why I feel like I need to prove my loyalty is beyond me.

As for the work/life balance; if you ever thought it existed I’m sorry to burst your bubble. It’s a myth and before accepting that once in a life-time, tough, demanding and stressful job, you need to have an honest chat with yourself.

That, without hard work, long hours, a lot of discipline and sacrifice you won’t progress. Some things in your life have to give. You’re 10 friends will become 5 by the time the first year is over and 1 maybe 2 will be there with you by year 2 & beyond which is plenty, right?

You will miss a few catch-ups with your friends; parent teacher interviews or sport days. You may even be late to siblings wedding!

You can’t have everything and the sooner you accept there is no balance the sooner you will adapt to change and uncertainty.

Each of the topics addressed above are worthy of discussion however lets focus on you. Individually.

It’s great to want to help a greater cause and ultimately everyone has that desire. But what about the here and the now. Look around you; no doubt there are little things that are bothering you.

Look at your relationships, be it with you parents, your siblings, co- workers, your wife/husband, your kids, your friends or even a stranger you will pass by.

What can you do individually to change your interactions with them?

Lets focus for a minute on your closest relationships. We tend to take these relationships for granted, why invest in them right?  Your sister will always be there. She will accept your calls regardless of the time.

Or you mother will always forgive & love you despite your short temper.

Rather these are the relationships that need to be cherished and nourished & are the most important ones.

Being alert to what you say and do whether it being positive or negative has a ripple effect & will impact others. Who you are as a person, as a leader, what your values & morals are & how you interact actually changes people’s personality, confidence and attitude.

It’s that ability to regulate your behavior that will give you the power to influence and change your surroundings.

Individually we must acknowledge the closest people to us are the people we need to be the nicest person to. That means being polite, patient, caring, and having a positive outlook no matter the situation.

Little simple things you can change or start doing may encourage, inspire and motivate others to modify their behavior to mirror yours. And we all know collectively we can do so much good.

Collectively we built the Pyramids; we launched rockets into space and filled the MCG with 100,000 mad footy supporters (that’s AFL). None of these would be possible without a collective effort. Individually you can decide to be part of a greater good.

I read an amazing quote recently; that basically summed up the control you have.

“Just because I laugh a lot, doesn’t mean my life is easy. Just because I have a smile on my face everyday, doesn’t mean that something isn’t bothering me.

I choose to move on, and not dwell on the negatives in my life. Every moment gives me a chance to renew anew. I choose that”

And that’s the power of choice. You can choose to make adjustments in your life. Ultimately you can only control yourself. So why not be that person of calm, good character & nature. Someone you can be proud of.

Start with a little self-reflection & no doubt you will see there is room for improvement.

I will end with a message from our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

“You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness”

Be alert to your actions and your behaviors, quit the bad attitude, the hate, the negativity & be thankful.

Start by smiling all day today.

No doubt with a little change from us all; we can collectively have an impact, a stronger, louder voice and change the bigger issues confronting us.

Articl by Fatma Saaoud
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