I remember how hopeful I was at the start of the so-called Arab Spring.
Ah, naïve me. I thought there would be a push forward but instead it’s a step back.
But moving from the political into the personal, here’s the message: we can never impose change from the outside. We can’t change Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, to name a few. We can’t make people be open-minded and accepting. We can’t convince them to do things differently even if we are sure that our way will bring them happiness.
What happens inside another country mirrors what happens inside someone else. People we care about. We can want them to change because we see they are suffering but we are totally powerless over what they decide to do.
Change can never happen from the outside in. We have to change from the inside out.
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Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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And we start–or jump into–all kinds of problems when we make it our job to change someone or something from the inside out.
Thanks for another excellent post…and reminder.
Thanks Diane. So true. If we all worked on ourselves first, the results would be amazing.