A few days ago, a homeless man asked me if I could spare any change.
I kept walking and I didn’t look back.
Recently, I got an email from Amnesty International asking me to donate to help civilians in Yemen rebuild their war-torn lives.
I closed the email, and filed it under spam.
I run a blog about social activism, I’m a member of my school’s Amnesty International group. Yet, I still find it difficult to care about each problem, each injustice, that I see or that I’m told about on a daily basis. There are so many major issues right now in the world that it sometimes seems it would be pointless just to even try to fix them.
And that’s partially correct. No one is Superman, and no one can fight every injustice in this world. I’m certainly far from perfect. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to change how we act when it comes to matters like this.
Most people start off not caring. I’ve done enough donation collections and petition drives to witness this firsthand. But notice how I wrote that they start off not caring. The message of this article is far from a negative one. Let me explain.
Caring is (Really) Important
We make the choice several times a day to either invest our time or decide that whatever it is isn’t worth it and move on with our lives. Many people are by nature inclined to be cynical when it comes to caring, myself included. So when I made the choice to start this blog, it may have turned a few heads.
“This guy started a blog on social activism? Wait…What?!?”
All jokes aside, I credit this shift in behavior towards more than just a sudden epiphany or an idea out of the blue. I started to change because I recognized that I could be doing more.
The choice to care is one of the most powerful decisions we make on a daily basis. When an individual or a group cares deeply about an issue, it can seem like there’s nothing they can’t accomplish. And yet when these same people don’t care enough to take a stand or tackle an injustice, it can only makes the situation worse.
The Question of The Day
So here’s the million dollar question. How do we get ourselves to care more?
In my case, I was both inspired and obligated to become more emphatic to social plight. Inspired by those my age who had already done so much for society, and obligated by society to inspire others too.
Our perspective can hold us back from caring as much as we should, subsequently holding us back from change as well. It’s easy to feel detached when we encounter yet another article describing more human rights violations in a distant country or even just outside our community.
But if we can work to alter this mindset, and realize that the world is a lot smaller than we might think, then we can be on the road towards caring more. For myself, it was looking to role models that set me on the track towards becoming more socially conscious, but each person is unique when it comes to social change. You’ve already taken the first step towards caring more by reading this article, but whether and how you decide to take the next step lies with you.
So next time a homeless man asks me if I can spare any change, I won’t just walk by.
Next time I get an email asking me to help a worthy cause, I won’t just send it to spam.
Even if you identify as naturally cynical, it shouldn’t have to interfere with finding basic compassion towards those who are oppressed or unfortunate. Wherever we may have stood before, let’s stand together now and care about the issues that matter.
Written By: Sam Gorman, Founder of Youngchange-Bestchange
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Click here to read more about the important of global perspective in a previous article of mine.
To read more about why role models matter so much, check out this article.
Let me know in the comments section below your thoughts on why caring is important, and how you think you can become more socially conscious.