Activist: ‘A person who is passionate about what they believe in and helps educate other people about the subject at hand. Someone who advocates or opposes a cause or issue vigorously.’

The year I started high school, the public schools enacted a new requirement. Mandatory community service. In order to graduate, everyone had to do 60 hours of volunteer work over the 4 years. It was quite controversial and divided the community. The main argument was that you can’t force someone to volunteer. That it was not only unconstitutional to make someone ‘believe in the value of altruism,’ but that it was also a form of involuntary servitude.

The school board eventually upheld the community service program but I was mostly struck by this reaction to service. Why was it offensive to suggest that service be mandatory? Surely we could all agree that as citizens, it is our responsibility to contribute. That it is our duty to return something of ourselves into the community that nurtured us.

The subject of volunteering came up at a dinner party recently and I was surprised at where the discussion forged. While several people were involved in some sort of service, an equal number weren’t, citing reasons ranging from the expected, ever popular ‘not having the time’ to the startling ‘I wouldn’t make enough of an impact anyway. Why bother?’

Have we really become that disheartened and cynical?

I flashed back to the debate the community had in high school about service. And I couldn’t help but believe that if service was championed and taught with equal value to other required curriculum, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. Some might not like it, but who loved every class or activity in school? We were forced to take them in the interest of education. So, what then, were we teaching about service? Shouldn’t the value of service be ingrained as an integral part of our life? Starting young would allow us to  inherently feel the difference every gesture made. Experience that no act was too small.

Service is a form of activism. And somehow we have become an ego driven society that applauds personal achievements and narcissistic behavior but doesn’t seem to highlight service. In fact, ‘activism’ itself is treated as a special job. It is a distinct, lofty brand of service that we all admire but don’t seem to nurture and recognize enough in our own everyday lives.

Is there just a growing, alarming apathy at large birthed from dismay and hopelessness? Have we really abandoned how simple service can be? It doesn’t have to be grand or through an organization or even involve lots of time or money.

And in these difficult times, isn’t it more important than ever to take care of each other? To do whatever little we can to make the day easier?

We care.

We care deeply.

I see it everyday and feel it in the very frustration that stems from feeling overwhelmed. It can be daunting when you think of everything that is wrong in the world. But we can start with us. With a random act of kindness. We are what’s right in the world. We are all activists. That thought, that instinct we have in the moment to say something, do something– we can’t let it pass. Our platform is our everyday.

We don’t want to do nothing because we can’t do everything.

‘There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.’ (H. Thurman)

How remarkable would it be to live in a world where the term ‘activist’ was conventional? Where there was an accepted resolve to implore advocacy? Instead of service being ancillary, it becomes so habitual that the bar at which someone is lauded is much higher. Contribution was taught at an early age so we would all commit to it being an expected, fundamental human quality.

We would be instilled with thanks and gratitude vs. feeling entitled to our freedoms.

Imagine.

 

-Sheetal Sheth

 

 

43 Comments

  • mervat mkhyber says:

    .wonderful imagination….love it!!!

  • yennz says:

    If people just start thinking for what is important and stop minding the unimportant, we will have a better world..just stop being so complicated..just start thinking like a child..as simple as possible..every person in the world is good..is just depend on the eyes and mind of the. Person looking..

  • angel says:

    thank u for this write-up.. you’ve practically voiced all my thoughts about this topic..albeit, more eloquently. nothing irks me more than apathy.. it’s quite prevalent in our world today but i’m an optimist.. i believe that somehow this would eventually change especially with how easier it is today to connect to other people even from those across the globe.

  • shelly says:

    To have to imagine something that’s so basic like volunteering or service is a sad thought. I believe people are innately good, helpful and caring….

  • Lisa M Mezta-Lopez says:

    So well said. I agree that we all have that ‘activist’ gene in us all. Some of us more so than others. Like you said, even those small (though big in the actual action) random acts of kindness are volunteering of ones self to a degree. If only we(myself included) would expand to an even broader act of kindness.

  • Magali says:

    And I think community services should start in elementary schools. Learn to be part of something constructive, learn responsabilities, the feeling of being useful. You need the right balance between service and slavery, sure lol, but life has become too “easy” and “confortable” (talking about rich countries obviously) and we just can’t blame the kids to feel bored and useless; we just don’t give them the opportunity to be part of the community and what’s best than make it as part of the educational program?! Adding community service to the education system is to my opinion giving them, next generation, a chance to find their place in the world as part of a big family, a chance to learn ethics, commitment, integrity, sharing…
    One will say that it’s the parents’ job; yes in parts, but lots of parents just give up with education; busy, tired, under stress and having kids always demanding, demanding, demanding… Well, they’d be less demanding if they felt they had a purpose; and the best way to have a purpose is to feel that you matter; to feel that you do something that matters, and this is something that is taught…
    Having the feeling that you are usefull is very gratifying, rewarding, satisfying and empowering….
    Changing the world is not that hard; the hard part is to have everyone wanting it at the same time and putting this will into action; it starts with the hearts. You can change what’s in your heart but not what’s in others but you can touch their hearts so they make the change…
    I believe in the buterfly effect 😉
    (Michael Jackson wrote a beautiful & just song on that matter: “Man in the miror”)

    Thank you for your thoughts…
    PS: and you know what I was also thinking? That after high school or after 18, the governements should offer a trip in other countries that are “poorer”; a journey of few months to learn how other countries function. A humanitarian mission of some sort to show life from another perspective… That can really change someone in seeing society through another prism; it’s an enrichment…

  • Cindy says:

    We forget that we don’t have to be someone’s entire solution to help them.

    We also forget that giving of ourselves to others is the greatest gift we can give our own spirit. We are all connected. Your suffering is my suffering. Relieving your suffering relieves my own. We all rise up from the act of service.

  • terbah says:

    “TIME IS MONEY” That is the problem.
    Nos valeurs universelles de solidarité et d’humanisme ne semblent se manifester que pendant les moments de crise et d’horreur. Et encore! Les sociétés libérales ont fait naître et favorisé l’individualisme qui agit comme un virus partout dans le monde. Les antidotes sont la lecture, les voyages pour une ouverture sur le monde, les autres, l’Autre.

  • terbah says:

    La recherche du Beau, du Bonheur et du vivre ensemble devraient primer sur la recherche du gain et de l’enrichissement personnel. Après, à chacun sa méthode: s’engager dans une ONG, exercer un travail tourné vers les autres, engager sonimage pour la bonne cause, etc.

  • Lisy Morales says:

    Beautiful what you write Sheetal!!!! I enjoy it very much!!!! Thank you 🙂 Always Smile:)

  • Riya says:

    hi
    ur post is nice..
    but if u dnt mind can i say something??
    today i first time use the translator in bengali but believe me it is easier to read it in english..the bengali translation is really very bad,it just translates each word not each sentence..nd frankly speaking i cant read it out properly in bengali…sorry..hope it will improve in near future..
    take care… 🙂

  • Lorena Díaz Barahona says:

    “Spirituality is being attuned to that One Life that transcends and includes everything that exists, that drives the universal, historical and personal processes.
    This manifests itself in our internal center as a space of lucidity, serenety, wisdom, strength, inclusiveness wihich we call Soul.
    The purpose of human life is to reveal this light each time in growing intensity, delivering it to the media, and from there, in daily life, to be awakened and active agents to a better world” (Patricia Mey”)
    TAKE A LOOK AT THIS LINK.
    http://www.patriciamay.cl/en/thoughts-and-reflections/

  • Adri Macbeth says:

    What an inspiring and open your eyes calling text, OMG!!! If we had at least that kind of vision and sensibility, it’d be a total starting and maybe we could be better and live better, just by helping other without asking nothing in return. Thanks dear!!! May God bless you for you to continue sharing your light with us. Love fm. Brazil!!! 🙂

  • Teresa says:

    President Kennedy challenged Americans to give to their country and volunteer to help people all over the world in need. It has been over 40 years and the same challenge remains. We need to get out of the me, myself and I syndrome and be givers not takers. There is scientific evidence that shows volunteering and advocating increases your T-Cells which fights sickness and diseases and increases your life span . So you have so much to gain. Thanks for this.

  • hi sheethal says:

    HI,

    Very much true. each one of us must and should have a social responsibility. at this time of loosing the environment, earth, weather, we the human beings should start getting together for bringing warmness within ourselves.

    schools must include this as important curriculum.

    we need to care , care, care……

  • Olga Roig says:

    Sheetal:
    I agree wholeheartedly with your values of service to others. I think adding it to school curriculum would be helpful. Personally I work for a Fortune Top 50 company that encourages volunteering for organizations that they support, as well as organizaions we are interested in as well. They also support charitable donations by matching our donations up to certain dollar limit. Through their foundation they also support various organizations and make grants as needed. I love working for this company because even though it is a worlwide commercial enterprise, it makes very good money and simultaneously has enriched our society. I recall as a child attending Catholic school and they encouraged us to be mindful and sensitive to others less fortunate by helping, raising funds, making donations etc. My parents who are native Puerto Ricans also guided us and taught us to be giving, charitable and helpful to others.They would tell me in Spanish… “Do the Good Deed without looking at Who”. But humans are just humans, and some are naturally born selfish and self-centered, and if not molded to be otherwise during their formative years, they remain that way for life. Sometimes it takes a significant loss or experience to wake a person up to realize they too are vulnerable to lifes adversaties. Right now the level of Apathy in this country is at an all time high. I think we’ve become so materialistic due to the ease of credit, that we no longer know as a nation what it is too really experience hard times. The Great Recession has been hard, but not hard enough. My parents were Depression Era babies, and I know the hardships through their stories, and that was so ingrained in me that I am super sensitive to others in times of need. During 2009 when our Great Recessions impact was felt deeply, I saw the difference in my town, I saw friends and family endure hardship and I did all that I could to keep everyone propped up.. including sponsoring and helping a welfare mother of 5…. but then I noticed the welfare mother nor her husband was actively pursuing improving their condition, so I weened myself slowly from them because I felt I was sacrificing my money, time and energy and that was not making any improvement to the situation. I was maintaining it. I was the Giver, they were the Takers. Can’t have one without the other. So what I learned is that I have to balance carefully my level of volunteering, my giving and service to others and select those where you are helping others move forward, achieve, and improve. There will always be people less fortunate, but we have to identify the ones that truly want improvement in their lives, give them the hand, volunteer to those organizations that improve people lives. In the short time I have been your fan, I was able to see that you are very feeling person, very civic minded, and have lots of love in your heart. I can see that in your video chats, in your blogs, and how you play your roles in your films. It’s a great gift to be so filled with love and feel the things of people around you, just ask God to help you balance and manage it so it is not taken for granted by others. Best Regards.Olga

  • Katie Sun says:

    First of all I want to apologize for any grammatical mistakes … English is not the language in which “ I dream”.
    Your words have touched my heart and they are spinning around in my head for hours and hours..
    I am a graduate social pedagogue / social education worker. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of my time belongs to children with severe and multiple disabilities and my “work” as a clinic clown. In addition I give trainings for volunteers and do studies about nonviolent conversation.
    This work is my passion BUT that’s not the measure of all things. You don’t have to be a “Full-Time social worker” to do service, you don’t have to be a doctor working in the slums for free. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things. As far as service goes, it can take the form of a million things.
    “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” (Seneca)
    Too often we underestimate the power of, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you… taking a few minutes from each day to do something kind for someone, whether it be a friend or a complete stranger. Even if all you do is smile and say hello ( it only takes you 2 sec.). I believe that every single human being can make a difference in society.
    Kindness is like a boomerang, it returns!
    A clinic clown wisdom says :”A burden shared is half the burden, a joy shared is twice the joy.”
    Lets rise up now
    Get on your way
    This goes out to all the warriors of light…
    Love Katie

  • seema pradeep says:

    Hi sheetal,
    Loved your thoughts about service and kindness. I have a 10 year old son and since his early days I have tried to make him understand the importance of being a kind and helpful human being.Today, I feel very blessed that my son is always very helpful and caring towards the people around him. I can see very clearly that he will fulfill my wish.-( i.e. Of him being a good human being) .

  • JB Christy says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Your attitude of service is one of the characteristics I’ve most admired about you ever since I started learning more about you a couple of years ago. Serving others turns out to be not only the key to others’ happiness, but also the key to our own happiness. I think most of us long to live a meaningful life. And yet most of us (well, most Americans anyway) are brainwashed by our capitalistic, consumer-driven culture to believe that the way to be happy is to consume more and to “look out for number one”. But those values lead us away from our hearts’ desire to lead a meaningful life, thereby thwarting our capacity for true joy.

    I see the wisdom you demonstrate in your commitment to living your life with honesty, integrity, compassion and service, and I wonder how much of that wisdom grew out of your Indian heritage. I could be wrong, but I don’t think those values are commonly taught in New Jersey, any more than they’re commonly taught in Ohio where I grew up. I’m sure there were costs associated with growing up bi-culturally that I couldn’t begin to imagine. But I find myself envying the wisdom you’ve achieved at such a young age.

    There’s so much to say about the topic of service, and this is such a tiny box. But thank you for raising this important topic in particular, and thank you sincerely for sharing your thoughts in general with us. I’m so happy you’re blogging. We need to hear your voice. Well, I do, anyway.

  • Biviana says:

    “la sociedad actual de consumo es como un adicto a las drogas” : siempre ocupa más!
    “la naturaleza le tiene horror al vacío y cuando el “espacio espiritual” no encuentra alguna motivación superior, simple-. mente se llena con algo más bajo, en este caso,
    la pequeña, pobre y calculadora actitud hacia la vida, racionalizada por el cálculo económico” . Depende entonces aplicar en nosotros mismos e inculcar a otros, las posibilidades de “motivación superior”.

  • Biviana says:

    “la sociedad actual de consumo es como un adicto a las drogas” : siempre ocupa más!
    “la naturaleza le tiene horror al vacío y cuando el “espacio espiritual” no encuentra alguna motivación superior, simplemente se llena con algo más bajo, en este caso,
    la pequeña, pobre y calculadora actitud hacia la vida, racionalizada por el cálculo económico” . Depende entonces aplicar en nosotros mismos e inculcar a otros, las posibilidades de “motivación superior”. El resultado será una sociedad más humanista,
    más solidaria.

  • DJ Shiva says:

    “We don’t want to do nothing because we can’t do everything.”

    BAM. I was recently trying to explain this very concept to someone who didn’t understand the uproar and subsequent boycotting of Chick-Fil-A.

    Their stance was that it wouldn’t do any good, and if I was that incensed, why was I not boycotting the 2309420394238 other places that do bad things.

    My response was that one refusal to accept discrimination or exploitation of any one of the terrible things that permeates our society, inevitably becomes one more refusal. And then one more. And eventually you realise that every day there are things you can do (or not do) to stand up. Because it really does come down to “We don’t want to do nothing because we can’t do everything.”

    Everything has to start somewhere. I decided a long time ago that it could start with me.

    Thanks for your contributions to this conversation, Ms. Sheth. <3

  • maria ana chandler says:

    hmmm quite interesting.

  • Margaret Noelle says:

    Someone once said, “Most of us go to our graves with the music still inside of us.” I kept that saying in my wallet for over 10 years, looking at it often, afraid that I would be one of those people. Then one day I woke up and said, “I’m determined to not let that be me.” I just returned from my first mission trip to the Appalachia region of Tennessee. Complete strangers became family, goodness overcame sadness, and laughter wiped away tears. I wish for everyone who reads your blog to be inspired by your insight and hope for this world. The song you play is lovely.

  • sama says:

    Volunteering is something that is very important for a sense of self and blow up potential energy within oneself and also a way to recognize yourself whats badkhelk of useful data and benefit from those around you?
    Thanks sheetal

  • Sheetal says:

    Thanks all. Love reading your thoughts and hearing your stories.

  • Brook Zhou says:

    Your thoughts is great all the time. You’re not only an unique actress but also a wonderful human being with wisdom. Sometimes I even think that you are suitable to be a teacher in this mad world .As a activist , you could make the world better.I understand the movie you choose, you often try to make people think.
    Well, I am living in China,the mainland. It will take some efforts for our people to see the world outside. We have to try so called “climb the wall” to go through everything on twitter or facebook.
    However,we watched some of your movies and we started to get to know you, to realize your ideas. Finally, we found some methods to communicate with you.
    I really hope you could gain much more fame in the future,just want more and more people could know you, your movie and your valuable thoughts.
    When I read your articles, I think even some of public people in my country are not that wise and kind as you are ,let alone other actors or actress. You have a pure heart and soul.
    You deserve a fully respects from me. Maybe one day, you could shoot a movie in China. There’re a lot of movie company here which never lack of budget but good stories.

  • Nikeeta says:

    Interesting post.

    The response from the people in your community about the school implementing service into the curriculum is telling. It has everything to do with the ideology of Western individualism and how it structures the purpose and nature of our education system. In theory, education should be about raising critical thinkers who can actively participate, engage, have a vested interest in, and transform the communities and world around them. However, in reality, education is really about competition and training and socializing students to enter different sectors of the work force. Education is about creating workers, not informed citizens mostly. For many, it is not a place where we go to learn more about ourselves, each other and society as a whole. I say this to say, that we need to revolutionize and rethink how we do education in the first place. Education as it currently stands, does not critique or challenge any part of the status quo (which it ought to do) rather, it simply reproduces it.

    As you mentioned in your post, we’re a lot more concerned about individual and personal achievements. We really should be concerned with how to create whole, loving, sustainable communities where we see each other as an extension of ourselves. Indigenous cultures really seem to historically understood this from the get go. Ubuntu, the African philosophy of community and togetherness has a saying: “I am because you are.” There is also a Mayan inspired poem In Lak’ech “I Am You or You Are Me:”

    You are my other me
    If I do harm to you
    I do harm to myself
    I love and respect myself.

  • Noor Rahman says:

    Hey Sheetal, thank you for opening this discussion. I’ve been following your tweets since i saw you in ICTS and TWU. It was of course your fine acting and gorgeous eyes that drew me in at first but after finding out more about you, I find your politics and values equally sexy:) Just to share a perspective on youth activism in Singapore. Not sure if you know much about this tiny city state but we were made famous to Americans many years ago over the caning of an American teenager called Michael Faye who was found guilty of vandalism. We also had our fair share of attention grabbing headlines over our lack of free speech and freedom to demonstrate and protest, imposing mandatory capital punishment for drug traffickers, criminalising gay sex and of course fining people for chewing gum on subways and not flushing public toilets. Ah yes, as you can see the state sticks its nose in all our business governing this country with a tight rein for better or for worse.

    Despite that, we are also one of the richest nations in the world. The country has the highest proportion of home ownership despite soaring land prices thanks to an efficient public housing system. Despite recent glitches to the subway system, our public infrastructure and urban spaces are the envy of many countries and our success story from being a nation that had nothing to an economic powerhouse in Asia in less than two decades has been touted as the Asian miracle making Lee Kuan Yew our founding father world famous and a much studied statesman. I find that here in Singapore, a government that delivers the good life has killed the passion and spark in people that are needed to spur them to think, to be critical, to make a stand and to be bothered to be agents of change. Our social compact defined by a sense of self reliance and competitiveness has also sapped the energy of most people form caring and being bothered with other things than material success,

    Singaporeans put absolute trust in the government to take care of things in exchange for their hard work to keep its economy ticking.The state isn’t too greedy and does make sure that the large middle class enjoys a good standard of living. We are taught that pragmatism is essential for our individual survival as well as the survival of the nation on the whole. I teach at a tertiary institute and am disheartened by the apathy displayed by many young people who think that it is not important to be concerned about social issues and politics. They believe that the government will somehow “fix it”. There are those who are content to shrug their shoulders blaming the limited political space defined by the paranoid state as the key reason as to why its pointless to be activists and advocates for your never know when you are pushing the envelope too far landing you into trouble with the authorities. Not many among those who shrug their shoulders care to question the fairness of the limited political space in the first place. Some think there is no need to do so as everything is fine while others think it is necessary to curtail political space as democracy is too messy and its not like the masses can think for themselves anyway! They are content to leave the thinking to an elite group of people who have been groomed to govern the country.

    This is a peculiar country as you can see….am not sure who to blame…the people or the government for the current state of apathy. Lee Kuan Yew has given us the good life but I feel that his style of governance has surely killed the passion of many and dull our minds. I fear that this nation will breakdown when the good life runs out one day. The cracks are already beginning to show…

    Thanks Sheetal if you bother to read this rather long post and to anyone else who have done so…it was good to have gotten this down in writing:)

  • Maria says:

    Thank you for another amazing blog! I love your ideas, your passion, and your gifted way with words. They come from a place of immense kindness and generosity and you have very strong and educated moral compass.

    I think it was brilliant that volunteerism/service was required in your HS. It should be implemented nationwide. Nowadays, you see “Cool kids” being given prizes on local news programs for doing just this. Why can’t all kids be cool this way? It should be introduced in principle even earlier in childhood., both at home and in school. Kindness, generosity, and gratitude can all be taught by example. Then hopefully they will become natural, habit forming, and even contagious.

    This Sunday ( August 19 ) is World Humanitarian Day. If we need a special day to start caring about others more than ourselves and making a difference — no matter how small — this is a good day to start.

  • Chantal Franken says:

    I read your blog, for the half of it I agree, for the other half I don’t.

    The world is a fucked up place to live in, people are individualists and careless,. sometimes I even think they like it more to hate and be hated, then to love and be loved.

    Out of first hand experience my mom and me had a very hard life with many bad things that have happend to us and we never ever ever had someone reach out to us, never….which is painfull and one thinks about it and just doesnt comprihend. So then at some point you become bitter and think to yourself, why would i ever help someone? nobody ever helped us. I won’t ever use the excuse “i dont have time, I dont have money” but I will think about how we have been treated and that makes me feel sick. So you can not force people to be more human and thoughtfull about others, there “can” always be a true story to someones behaviour, don’t always have to be excuses.

    And yes, the thing does not have to be big, so we brought an old lady across the street 2 bottles to drink since it’s over 40 degree’s, the little things matter. But more then the little things, I won’t ever do.
    I care more for animals anyways then people. Animals will never hurt, dissapoint you but stick to your side at all times !

    Chantal

  • Rochii Arcuri says:

    You’re so inspiring Sheetal. I’m sure I don’t speak just for myself when I say that you open people’s mind. I wish schools in Argentina made us do volunteer work! Actually I don’t even know if there’s something like that here. I mean, if I wanna do voluntary service, where do I go? Is there any organization who get charge of that? – I searched for information to find out if there’s any way to help in the town where I live, but there’s nothing. It’s stupid. Why should they make it so hard for people to help? I don’t know, but I don’t care either. As you said it doesn’t have to be a huge thing to help. Every little thing can make the difference.
    Last month I started recycling the organic rubbish from my house. I sank a hole in our garden and I’m throwing all organic waste there. It’s called ‘composta’ in spanish.
    And, thinking of this whole thing of a better worlds and starting a change changing yourself, I decided to become a vegetarian. I haven’t eaten meat for 7 weeks; just started!
    I know maybe it doesn’t make any impact, but I’m glad to help with my 2 cents’ worth.
    And I want you to know, that you took part in my decisions to start doing this little changes. As I said once, you’re my role mode (: I totally admire you ♥
    Keep rocking girl!

  • Anja says:

    Interestingly enough, here in London happened a huge discussion about volunteering in the wake of the Olympics. The Game Makers, as they were/are called, consisted of 70.000 volunteers. People from all walks of live volunteered to help make the Olympic Games 2012 in London an huge success. I saw them on the streets every day during the event and I have to admit that it was quite uplifting to see them like that and read their stories in the paper as well.

    Had I known that I was going to live in England this year, I would’ve volunteered as well. Of course, volunteering during the Olympics is something special indeed, but all these people volunteered full time, not just some afternoons here and there. Some of them took their entire holiday allowance to be able to participate in such a way and I think that deserves respect as well.

    I’ve volunteered in the past and I hope to be able to do it again in the future, whatever the cause may be. I’m not an activist, but I believe strongly in many things and will be an advocate when I can be.

    I grew up in East Germany for the first ten years of my life and we had the Young Pioneers that all kids were required to join. It was, indeed, mandatory. And community service was a big part of that. It builds character to participate. I am no worse off, because I’ve been “subjected” to that in my childhood, the opposite is true. I’ve learned respect for my elders, when kids ten years my junior didn’t even know how to spell respect. I’ve learned to care for those members of the community that needed extra help. We still had a sense of community in our neighborhood back then and we volunteered our time to be there for one another and to make our neighborhood a decent one.

    Twenty years later my parents still live in that same neighborhood and are now looking to move elsewhere, sooner rather than later, because it’s gone downhill.

    You’re right in everything you say and as usual it makes me think.

    I imagine. I care. Deeply.

    This is our world and we have no right to complain about things as they are, because it is up to us to make them what we want them to be.

  • marissa says:

    The whole problem with this world is that most people don’t care. At least not about anything but themselves anyway. That’s what I see everyday.
    Like last week was shark week. And I am an avid shark lover. I am fascinated by them. I love watching it every year. But, it also breaks my heart to see what people do to them. Around 100 million sharks are killed every year. Most species are on the verge of extinction. And for what? Some stupid soup. A fucking taco. It made me sick to my stomach to watch it. What turned my stomach even more though was the response I got the next day when I brought it up at work. I got good for them. Kill them all. They deserve it. And my personal favorite, if you wanna hand out money you can give some to me. How can anyone with a heart say stuff like that?
    I think a lot of people take it out on the world because their life sucks. News flash to all those people. Nobody’s life is perfect. I haven’t had a great life. Probably never will. But that doesn’t stop me from caring. It doesn’t stop me from being me.
    People tell me all the time that I’m stupid and I should be more of a bitch and an asshole and not care then I’d get what I want. And truthfully, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, that I don’t wander what my life would be like if I was. But at the end of the day, I’d much rather have nothing and be happy with who I am than have everything I ever wanted and be miserable.
    Barring what people might think, I’m not stupid. I know why people gravitate towards me. It’s because my heart doesn’t know the meaning of the word no. I’d do anything for anybody. I get taken advantage of all the time. That’s why I don’t trust anyone. It would be so easy for me to give in and hate the world but I won’t. Never will.
    Am I bitter towards certain things? Absolutely. Am I angry to see people get everything they want while I get nothing? Hell yeah. But everything happens for a reason. Good or bad. Right or wrong. I for one am forever grateful that my life sucks because the outcome of it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It brought me to Sheetal. Thanks to her, I now realize that no matter what you do people try to break you, they hate you, and they knock you down. But it’s how you get up and what you stand for that makes you.
    Nothing irritates me more than people who say they hate things in this world but do nothing to change it. Making service mandatory is not going to change everyone but if it changes one person, if it makes a difference in someone’s life then it has changed the world and made it a better place to be. And I’m all for it.
    We are all different. We come from different backgrounds and we believe in different things. What people fail to realize is that beneath everything that makes us unique, we are all the same. At the core, we are all one. You’re heart beats and breaks just like mine does. So, if you can care about yourself then you are more than capable of caring for others. We only get one shot at life. So make the most of it. Make it count.
    Like Sheetal said the gesture doesn’t have to be grand. Sometimes it’s the small things that mean the most. Be nicer to someone. Care about something else on this planet other than yourself. And when we can all do that, thats when the world becomes a better place to be.

  • L says:

    I thank you for another inspiring work, Sheetal! 😀 You’re so awesome!

    I find this post of yours relevant to me and to my other schoolmates, being a student of the University of the Philippines (a premier state university here in the Philippines; some foreigners say UP is the Philippines’ Harvard). We are oftentimes stereotyped as student activists because we are standing out, think outside the box, and fighting for if we find something unequal and unjust and unfair to us and the people around us. What’s wrong with fighting for people’s rights? In addition to that, we are just trained to be the best at our own fields and serve the people, from which we owe our education. I totally agree with all your points in here, I’m glad I found your works too inspiring for us in line to our advocacy of never stop serving the people for the good.

    Love from the Philippines! All the best! <3

  • We care…We really do..

  • Tracy White says:

    Yes! It is overwhelming when we care so much and there's so much to be done. Baby steps. Something is better than nothing. It does start with kindness. You never know what a simple smile or hello can do for someone. I encourage people to pay it forward. Sometimes, I get so discouraged at humanity. I see people being wronged all the time. I can't change that. It's been a long, hard road in my journey and I let it get the best of me. I became bitter and unforgiving. But women, like you, that use your platform to better the world gives me hope. It inspires me to be better. I want to be the echo that you put out there, Sheetal. I want to live my life like you with passion and desire. I can, and I will thanks to you. I hear your views and opinions and they resonate with me. I'm on your team. We can do this! Thank you for everything you are and what you do for the world. I can't explain the twist of fate that has brought you into my life but I'm so glad it happened. You are truly one of a kind. –Tracy

  • diane says:

    Well said!
    Even simple things like helping somebody in the street, most people just seem to walk on by without careing. I once saw an old lady haveing problems with her mobilaty scooter in the street amd as i was headimg that way people was her and just kept walking past. I asked her if i could help and all it needed was a little push to get the scooter going again. It really bothered me to c so many people just not careing. Kindness goes a long way.
    Love ur blogs!:-)

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