So how am I supposed to do this? By setting an example. Every day we focus so much on ourselves: what we want, what we need, what we "deserve" that we forget that we are a part of every other being on this planet. Call it what you will, but there is a force that connects us all.
Something that has plagued me throughout the years is the idea of helping. I help in obvious ways, but forget it does not mean killing myself for someone else. Doing dishes, laundry, babysitting, helping paint... yes, these are all great ways to help, but sometimes just the task of listening is enough. Having a friendship and enjoying is more of a help to many than you can ever imagine. In a time when stories of teen and young adult suicide run rampant in the media, we may want to reconsider those we are pushing away.
Don't get me wrong- you should never keep someone in your life who is bad for you. However, maybe the next time you decide to turn down an invite to dinner or coffee due to wanting more "me" time, maybe think twice. The friendship goes both ways: each person listens and shares. You may find this seemingly simple act of being there helps you even more than it has helped the other person.
It certainly seems less daunting to work on personal friendships than to go out and volunteer 20 hours a week. I'm not opposed to volunteering, but I am opposed to stretching myself too thin. So now instead of attempting to save the world through activism, I'm going to work on saving the world through friendship.