As we wake up to more terror, grief, and overwhelming sadness, I just couldn’t post another article about meaningless stuff. I’ve questioned my purpose in this world just about every day of my life. That’s no exaggeration. It has been a constant weight that I’ve felt since I was a kid. What are my gifts? How can I help the world? What can I contribute? I often wonder if I am somehow contributing to the unhealthy focus on appearance and status that our society has or living in a bubble talking about $350 handbags. How does that help anyone?
Before the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012, I was a bit desensitized. I’d see things on the news, feel bad, and move on. It was my way of coping. Sandy Hook broke my heart. It was a turning point for me. Those parents were me, those kids were mine. It was too close to home and a painful realization that the senseless violence we see in the media effects real people who aren’t any different from my family and me. I still think of those little kids and their families all the time, especially at Christmas.
Since then I’ve become increasingly aware that I have to contribute more. We all do, in any way we can, big or small. After the Boston Marathon bombing, I was feeling incredibly frustrated. All this education, a strong work ethic, and I was literally cleaning out closets and telling executives to iron their pants.
Give me a break, I thought.
So on the morning of April 19th, 2013, I received an email from my mom. My mom is that kind of mom who knows what is going on with her kids whether she has talked to us or not. She wakes up with a sense of who needs what. She always has.
I posted this email on my personal Facebook page that morning. I’ve reference it every time I am feeling helpless and insignificant, which is quite often these days.
“Hi Hon, I know you sometimes think what you do is frivolous … you’ve gone back to that since the beginning, even in school. Always remember that it is not. Taking care of oneself in the best way possible is necessary for survival, no exaggeration. You provide a necessary service to the world. When people feel better about themselves, they feel better about others, and perspectives change in big and small ways. You provide a means for people to add beauty and grace to their lives, to be inspired to lead more civilized lives. And more civility leads to peace. Remember that.”
Let me be clear: I by no means think that shoes and skirts will bring about world peace.
I do think being positive, empowering and inclusive can start a ripple effect. As women, we need to honor our value, worth, power and navigate the world with unabashed confidence. By doing so we can perhaps fix the significant issues that without our input have not yet been resolved.
For generations, women have had no place at the proverbial table. With more women contributing to and making the big decisions, building businesses, and running their lives according to their agenda, it is possible that we can live in a society that values everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, and religion. Women have the power to abolish divisiveness and bring about a world that lives in peace and unity.
But we can’t do that if we don’t honor ourselves first.
Maybe you woke up this morning and felt like what you do couldn’t possibly matter. It does. Whether you are headed to work, or your managing another day with crazy kids home from school. If you do it with love, compassion, and integrity, you are contributing.
Whatever it is that you do, remember that your positive contribution, no matter how small, could lead to a more peaceful world.
My prayer is that our world heals from everything it is experiencing. I pray that we can come together as a country and embrace peace and civility. We must try to understand each other even when it’s hard, and fight against the evils that surround us as a united front. Our children deserve a better world than what we are giving them.