This seems so simple, but so very few people do it. We ignore our built in sensor that says, This is true. That is not. Instead, like children, we live the way other people tell us to.
You may believe that you don't have the good judgment to decide what's right for you, but consider this: Even when you obey an external authority, you're making the choice to do so. Choosing what and whom you believe is your inescapable responsibility, so own it. Examine everything you hear. Weigh it against your innate sense of truth. Then do what feels right, even if it goes against someone's else's grain. You weren't allowed to do that as a kid. You are most definitely allowed to do it now.
At age 20, you're sure everyones thinking about you. By the time you're 40, you're starting to care less that people are thinking about you. And when you hit 60, you realize the truth: No on was ever thinking about you. People are generally so busy being their own worst emeny that they dont even notice your flaws.
Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Just pick one, start somewhere. Women’s rights, LGBT rights, workers’ rights, voting rights, the environment, health care, campaign finance reform, public education—they all deserve attention. Don’t just think about it or talk about it: support a cause with your money, your time, and your talents. Find an organization that’s doing work you believe in. It may be a long-standing organization or a newer or smaller one. If it doesn’t exist, build it.
Local issues are every bit as important as national and global ones. If you see a problem in your community that needs fixing or an injustice that needs correcting, and you think, “Someone ought to do something about that,” guess what? That someone could easily be you. Show up at a city council or school board meeting and suggest a solution. If a problem is affecting your life, it’s probably affecting someone else’s — and that person might just be willing to join you.
Try to get to know your elected officials at every level and learn where they stand. If you disagree with them, challenge them. Learn when they’re holding their next town hall and show up. Don’t forget to support and contribute to candidates who will fight for your values and interests. Better yet, run for office yourself.
If you’ve been keeping your opinions to yourself, try speaking out — whether that’s on social media, in a letter to the editor, or in conversations with friends, family, and neighbors. Your views are every bit as valuable as everyone else’s. You’ll be surprised by how satisfying it can be to express yourself. And chances are, once you take a stand, you’ll find you’re not standing alone for long. If all else fails, make a sign and show up at a protest.
From What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton to be published by Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Copyright © 2017 by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Printed by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
"This is dedicated to every human being who looks differnt, feels different, and thinks differently.