In each "issue" of Sonderers Travel Magazine, you'll find a collection of stories circling around a monthly theme that explores — in depth — one aspect of our wide, wide world. This month is The Power of People. Humanity has proven time and again that it is capable of great kindness and compassion, but also great pain and sorrow. Through travel we are able to see all sides of the human experience. It's through these experiences that we see the power we all hold in creating change, regardless of whether that change is political, social, environmental, or personal.
We all have an inherent power within us: whether to show empathy or apathy, to take action or to complain, to improve our environment or to remain stagnant. The power to choose how we interact with others in this world, then, is the deciding factor in so much of the human experience.
Novelist and activist Alice Walker once said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” What’s more, a single person doesn’t have to change the entire world or even an entire community to exercise their power. Change can occur through smaller means. It can occur just between two people.
Looking back at our own experiences, it is evident that each one of us has the power to affect positive change.This change occurs in the simple acts of kindness from giving a hug or compliment to actively listening to those who struggle with depression or suicide.
However, the power we have means we are also capable of spreading negativity and causing destruction. Insults posted on social media about an ambiguous “friend” and arguments over the death of a loved one’s will, are both experiences we all may face. Whether you encourage others through social media, pay it forward at your favorite cafe, or choose the opposite and throw out backhanded insults, be aware of your inherent power to choose these actions. The difference then becomes not what we do, but how we let these experiences inform our thoughts and actions.
With this power to choose our actions, we also have the power to influence each other’s moods through the work we do, the things we say, and the choices we make. As Sonderers and citizens of the world, it is crucial that we remain aware of how our choices affect those around us, remembering that every one of us possesses the power to do better and be better.
By inviting others over for a shared meal you are showing them that you are invested in their well-being and enjoy their company. When you support your children’s dreams you are telling them that their hopes matter.
As the great storyteller Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Let’s take the time every day to use our power to be little kinder, a little more understanding, and a little more aware of the world around us.
Photo by Richard Bruschi
Jeromy Slaby is the founder and project manager of Sonderers Magazine. He is also a freelance writer and photographer who specializes in travel and politics. He is currently working on receiving a BA in adventure education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. See more of his work here.