These last few weeks the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been heavy on my heart. The subjugation and oppression of people is never okay.
Unfortunately, it happens all the time.
On the world stage, it looks like dictators and tyrants violently enforcing their will on their people and others.
On the national stage, it looks like corporations exploiting the market so they can have better returns to appease their investors, posting record profits during times of economic downturns.
Or the government (local or national) passing laws that stifle the voice of “dissenting” citizens.
This subjugation and oppression also exists in seemingly objective systems and programs that are actually infused with racism, ageism, sexism, classism, and more… causing already underrepresented communities to further be disadvantaged.
Or, more personally, it may be friends and family that impose their opinions and viewpoints on you and then shun or cut you off if you don’t agree.
It can even look like the words we tell ourselves and the actions we take that further undermine our ability to live the life we want.
Whether it’s one of these or all of these or some combination that we experience and witness in our own lives, the only one who can truly set us free is ourselves.
How we allow these situations to affect us is more of an inside problem than an outside one.
Which can be hard to swallow. I get it.
We want to blame the world, other people, our circumstances, money, politics, or some other external factor for why our lives are the way they are.
We want it to be something else because then we don’t have control to change it. We know that change is hard and most of us don’t want to embark on that journey.
But if we want something different, then we’re the only ones capable of making that difference in our own lives.
We have to start with ourselves, changing how we think and interact with our own problems before we’ll be able to resolve the bigger ones.
If we want to stop the dictators, tyrants, subjugators, and oppressors of the world, then we have to stop doing those same things to ourselves.
It’s an inside job 100% of the time.
Revere yourself like you do your money.
Give yourself the same grace and compassion that you give your friends.
Love yourself like you do your children.
Only when we do this for ourselves can we start to make a real difference in the rest of the world.
To your impact and legacy,
P.S. If you don’t believe that your attitude wins over the situation you’re in, check out Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. It changed my life.