Your voice is a powerful tool. Up with People, teaches young adults as they travel throughout their gap year to find ways to use their voice to positively impact the world.
Incredible people throughout history have used their voices to create change. Maya Angelou was a poet and an activist who used her voice in support of the Civil Rights Movement. Jazz Jennings is a teenager who got her claim to fame by becoming an American YouTube personality as an LGBT rights activist and a transgender woman.
The misconception is that you don’t have to be famous or have a million followers on Instagram to be able to empower someone or make a difference in the lives of others. There are many ways, both big and small, you can use your voice for the betterment of communities throughout the globe, despite how young or old you may be.
Express generosity, compassion, and understanding with complete strangers.
There is something spectacular that happens when a complete stranger passes you in the street and compliments your shoes or holds a door open for you for fifteen minutes because they see you coming a mile away and weirdly enough still says “thank you” instead of “you’re welcome” like you just did them the favor.
While receiving is a great feeling, giving is exponentially more rewarding. Maybe you see someone on the subway who has been crying and you tell them, “Everything is going to be okay,” even though you don’t know their true circumstances. Use your voice to express something positive to someone you don’t know. It could easily make their day, and yours, too.
Empower someone who is younger than you.
Through music, books, movies, and social media, there are many ways in which we are influenced. Whether it is how we look on the outside or what types of things we think are “cool,” there will always be outside sources in society telling us what we should and should not like. Children and teenagers are more susceptible to the influences of various media sources than adults are because their minds are still trying to figure out who they really are.
Up with People believes in being unapologetically yourself and we thrive on the individuality of people regardless of their backgrounds, upbringings, love of death metal, or passion for knitting wool scarves in the summertime. Use your voice to empower someone younger than you. Lift them up to be proud of who they are and encourage them to go after whatever goal they want to achieve.
Speaking of social media…
Since we are on the topic of social media, you can always vocalize through text, photos, or videos. We are lucky enough to be living in a digital age of fast and easy communication. It allows us to be a part of something bigger and connect with people all around the world. Whether you are advocating for environmental change or just sending out positive vibes to your followers, you can use social media for good whether you have ten friends or ten million likes.
Use your voice for forgiveness.
Did you know that holding grudges can actually be bad not only for your mental health but for your physical health too? Negative emotions can lead to increased anxiety or depression, which can ultimately increase your blood pressure and heart rate. It can also cause physical pain in your body like lower back discomfort or arthritis. Take some time to reflect on the grudges you hold in your life. Speak to those people and use the power of your voice to forgive someone. It will not only make you feel better, but it will also help provide a sense of gratitude from the person receiving your forgiveness.
There are many ways in which you can use the power of your voice for good. In what way will you use your voice today?
Video: An Experiment in Gratitude – The Science of Happiness
“Love, I was confused and made you wait
I should have listened to my heart,
I shouldn’t need to validate
Who I love, now I’ve finally been set free
Cause the person here in front of you,
He’s finally, really, me.”
Really Me © Up with People
Questions? Click Here To Contact Up with People.
Topics: Gap Year Abroad
Up with People is a global education organization which aims to bring the world together through service and music. The unique combination of international travel, service learning, leadership development and performing arts offers young adults an unparalleled study abroad experience and a pathway to make a difference in the world, one community at a time. Click here to learn more about the internationally acclaimed program, Up with People.