Ask Mr. Manners

Who can say if I’ve changed for the better

What I love most about sacrifice and determination isn’t seeing a handsome guy in the mirror, or the positive attention that the public tends to give someone who has found success in their lives. It isn’t the early morning alarm or the piles of clothes that accumulate from going to the gym every day. What I love is the fact that sacrifice and determination — when prescribed in the proper dosages — makes you believe that you can completely transform yourself. It’s a cycle which plays on repeat for the better, and forever.

In the wake of what has happened to our LGBT brothers in the Orlando shooting, the time has come to once again take decisive action that will transform our community. This goes beyond the candle vigils and the words of encouragement and support that ensure we are evaluating our lives and the choices we make to keep our community safe.

It goes back to us and who we are. We have to be the change that we wish to see. How many times have you commented on social changes that need to be made, but taken no action toward leading those changes? I don’t mean to sound like a radio ad, but do you know who your congressional representative is and how to contact them for changes you would like to see enacted? Are we defining our civic duty as simply voting on Election Day and then allowing others to govern the changes which are made? If so, it’s time to change.

Any great transformation begins with new habits. These habits will require you to change who you are now to become the person you want to be. I am sure many of us have made gym goals. We work on eating habits, lifting routines and variations of cardio, but do we have the drive to give similar attention to our social goals? As the adage states, “Abs are made in the kitchen;” and I will propose that “opinions are made on social media.” Take the time to educate, inform, and seek various sources of information so that you can make an opinion which resonates. Indulge in the details and find the facts which resonate and give you the passion to change. Transformation and motivation go hand in hand.

In addition to seeking insight, I encourage you to attend social gatherings and join the various community organizations which are aligned with the beliefs you hold. Words without actions are meaningless; you must act to instill change.

The list of what you can do does not end here, but this is just a taste of what is required to transform. Our community needs us to be strong in our tragedy and use it to fight back in a constructive way. Do you have the determination and sacrifice it takes to change? I hope you do, and I wish you well. May you change often, and always for the better.

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