Note: This is a guest post by Kate Harveston, of Only Slightly Biased.
The New York Times and other outlets are calling 2017 the best year in human history.
It’s hard to disagree — 2017 will be one to look back on for decades to come.
So many notable things happened, and many bold moves were made on behalf of men, women and children everywhere — moves that will continue the world on a positive path.
2017 has become the year of change, and more and more people have decided to no longer abide by society’s expectation to keep quiet about things that truly matter.
As a result of the election, many have become inspired and overcome with passion for fighting back and taking a stand for what they believe in — and how beautiful the change has been.
Maybe you yourself are one of the reasons for the uplifting change in humanity — a drastic transformation from the negative vibes that spread through the world before and after the election.
If you’re one of the catalysts, thank you.
In 2017, there was less poverty and illiteracy.
Fewer children died than ever before.
Unlikely couples fell in love.
Both men and women stepped out of their comfort zones and into the spotlight to stop powerful people from preying on others.
2017 was undoubtedly a year of progress for all of humanity.
Even though we are mostly surrounded by negative news, know that the world is moving in the right direction.
Remember that news is news because it’s a rare occurrence — something we don’t see in the headlines every day.
From news stations and publications, “shock and awe” headlines sell and draw viewer attention. Features about mass shootings and war crimes stand out more than good news about people helping one another.
Keep yourself inspired by remembering the good stories even when bad ones are so prominent. Continue to spread kindness, positivity and love wherever you go.
Here are four of the many inspirational things that happened in 2017.
1. The #MeToo Movement
If you haven’t heard of the #MeToo movement, you’re not paying attention.
Celebrity scandal exploded when once-admired, now-infamous film producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed by nearly 100 sexual-abuse victims in October of last year. The lengthy list, which goes back three decades, includes big names such as Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne, Angelina Jolie and more.
The #MeToo social media hashtag went viral in October, shortly after Weinstein’s horrid past was unmasked.
Actress Alyssa Milano urged women to tweet #MeToo in an effort to expose the magnitude of the problem. In response, both men and women took to their social media accounts to share personal stories of sexual assault, as well as an overwhelming level of support to the victims out there who suffer every day.
It was one of the most incredible instances of support in history.
Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga and other powerful celebrities used their fame for good and came together to bring sexual assault into the light, where it belongs. Many of them even went as far as to post about their personal experiences and how sexual assault impacted their lives, again helping others feel brave enough to come forward on their own.
The “MeToo” hashtag was posted by 4.7 million people in the first 24 hours after Milano started the trend. It reached millions around the world in 85 different countries.
Use your voice, even if you feel it won’t be heard. If we combine all of our voices together, we will be heard, and the #MeToo movement is proof.
2. Poverty Rates Decreased
An economist from Oxford University, Max Roser, calculated that the number of people living in extreme poverty — on roughly less than $2 a day — has gone down by 217,000, making the United States’ official poverty rate 12.7%.
The poverty line in China decreased from 99 million to 43.4 million. Income inequality continues to fall steadily. More people have also gained access to electricity, which is one of the first steps out of poverty.
As the average household income continues to grow, income equality and child welfare are still a major concern for many. However, all should take comfort in knowing that once again, we are moving in the right direction.
3. Prince Harry Proposed to Meghan Markle
It’s a worldwide affair when a royal becomes engaged, gets married and has babies.
Remember when millions of people woke up in the middle of the night to watch the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana?
The most current royal engagement has sparked quite a bit of buzz because it will be groundbreaking for the royal family for a number of reasons. Markle is biracial, American and divorced — quite a difference from past royal spousal selections, but the relationship between Prince Harry and Markle is one of great love.
It’s also a sign that tolerance has changed for the better, as well as British public opinion.
After the couple first became public, they faced harsh British tabloid harassment, mainly due to Markle’s mixed racial identity — her father is Caucasian, and her mother is African American.
The Daily Star Online even referred to the engagement as a “marriage into gangster royalty.” However, Prince Harry was able to clear the air with a statement condemning them for the abuse and harassment of his girlfriend, and the world has since started to support the couple and their differences.
Markle’s parents have been divorced for most of her life, and she herself is a divorced woman. While she has great style, you won’t find her in the same traditional attire as Kate Middleton and Princess Diana, as Markle opts for a more casual look. Markle is also American, although it has been reported that she is a direct descendant of England’s King Edward III.
Despite differences, Markle is embraced by the royal family and Prince Harry, and the rest shouldn’t matter.
The lesson behind this fairytale love story is to love who you love and don’t let other opinions sway where your heart is.
The relationship between Prince Harry and Markle has proven that true love can break barriers and that the world continues to grow when it comes to the acceptance of others. Markle herself has taught people that you can and should continue to be yourself above all else. This is a love story for the ages.
4. Heroes Saved Lives During the Las Vegas Shooting
The world will never forget the Las Vegas shooting — 59 innocent lives were taken, and 500 people were injured.
Dozens of heart-wrenching accounts exist of heroic acts from concert-goers and other people who ran straight into gunfire to save their loved ones and even complete strangers.
Each of their stories is an inspiration and a reminder that good and love are alive in the world.
While it’s impossible to mention all of the heroes from that night, highlights include a man who gave his own life to protect his wife, as well as a young mother who acted as a human shield to protect her four-year-old daughter.
One marine found a truck and drove it into the chaos so he could fill the truck bed with wounded victims who needed to get to a hospital. Hundreds of other heroes risked their own lives for the lives of others and stayed behind to tend to the wounded and transport victims to the hospital.
It’s always remarkable to see acts of kindness from strangers and to hear stories about how people came together to help one another, even when their own lives were at risk.
This story is one that resonates with everyone because it proves that humanity is good and that we do have each other’s backs — there’s more love than hate out there in the world.
Life is so special and could end at any moment. Be kind to one another because together, we can make an impact on each other’s lives.
Always choose positivity over negativity — even if the headlines scream about all the bad that happens in the world.
Yes, bad things will continue to happen, but good things will too, every day.
2017 had its moments of both. Make a difference in your own life, and dwell less on the negative — focus your energy on the inspirational news out there instead.