The past few days have been spent in quiet reflection, of wondering what life will be like when I return home. There is a cafe right next to my hostel and I’ve spent the majority of my mornings over a latte and The Diary of Anne Frank. I’ve always had an odd fascination with the Holocaust. Not because I enjoy the suffering of others but because I wish to understand how such a horrible event could happen. Yesterday, after I finished the book, I went to the house where Anne and seven other people hid for the better part of two years. I was moved to tears. I came away wondering what I can do in my own life to make sure something that horrid will never happen again.
There are a few things that Anne wrote that I find quite powerful. The first is “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” I often think that to be great means to have wealth and power, that to be an influencer I have to be heard by hundreds or millions of people. In reality, I’m already someone with a voice and influence. We all start out on the same page, we are all good people. What I do with that is up to me. Which brings up the second quote. “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” Humans have been given this great gift, choice. We can choose how to live and we don’t have to base our choice on what other’s think. We often do base certain choices on others but not always. Ultimately, how we live is our choice and we have to take hold of the seriousness of that and how our choices can affect the world. Final quote is, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” This reminds me that I don’t have to sit around waiting for things to happen in order to make a difference. Treating others with love and kindness is a great way to start.
I find that what I can do to improve this world is actually quite simple. Assume everyone is good and worthy, choose to do good in the world and do it. It doesn’t matter where I am in life, what matters is making the choice to care about others and to show kindness and compassion. With that, maybe the world will become a better place.