Have you ever really thought about how complex the ability to choose for yourself is? Every single day, every person on this earth make hundreds of choices that shape their lives (for better or worse), and these choices often come about without a second thought. Throughout my 23 years of life, I have seen devastating circumstances brought about by one wrong choice, and also great joy that stemmed from a single act of selfless love. Sometimes I think we truly take our ability to choose for granted.

So, if we all can make decisions, why don't we always choose good?

Well, the answer is simple: when you're given a path, it's natural to lean toward the easy route, even when you know the more difficult path is the correct one. Our world is bustling with tragic circumstances and self-serving actions,and this negativity is broadcasted on social media and accompanied by vicious comments. How many people have all but destroyed once beautiful relationships because of hasty words and actions? How many of us would dare admit that we love to see a good argument on Facebook or a touch of tedious drama to spice up our lives?

Kindness, compassion and love are overshadowed by fits of anger, jealousy and rage.

You have the ability to choose to better yourself and to be an advocate of light. Or, you can choose to fall into the fad of spreading darkness around the world. If you can't make the right choice all the time (after all, no one is perfect), then at least choose these five powerful ways to make the changes you want to see in the world:

Choose to forgive

Along with our ability to choose comes our ability to forgive others. A grudge does nothing but harm to your body, your mind and your spirit. I have seen so much hatred and spite spawn from someone's inability to forgive others. Grudges bring about the worst in you and show the world you're unable to let go of your pride. The person who chooses to forgive (regardless of receiving an apology) is the one who is truly free in the end. Find freedom in forgiveness and let go of that pain.

Choose gratitude

Being gracious is one of the most fulfilling sensations anyone can experience. Whatever your circumstances, find something to be grateful for. Don't let jealousy and envy cloud the wonderful things in your life. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the small things truly make the biggest impact in the end. Don't ever take the beautiful and precious people and gifts in your life for granted. Never throw away your happiness just because you don't have something, because someday you'll realize you had it all along.

Choose courage

Being kind and considerate in a world that favors ruthlessness is one of the most courageous decisions you could ever make. It is easy to be afraid. It's easy to be rude and easy to be offended by other people. Have courage to stand up for what is right. The ability to be kind to your enemies shows more about your character than the choice to be critical. Be brave enough to stand in the storm when everyone else has jumped ship.

Choose to understand

Empathy is a rare quality in this world. When people disagree, judgments are quickly made and chaos ensues around every corner. There is a profound quote that sums up this pattern: "We're all so desperate to be understood, we forget to be understanding". It is possible to have a different opinion or belief than someone else and still show them love and respect. Choose to understand, rather than to judge.

Choose love

And finally, above all else, choose to love. Choose to show compassion to others, even if they disagree with you. Show kindness, respect and generosity toward both loved ones and the hundreds of people strangers you interact with. Love and compassion have the power to move people more than anything else can. Love changes people in miraculous ways. It is the deepest and most wonderful feeling to share with others. And the people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it most.

Choosing goodness can being light to our dark society. When faced with a decision, be brave enough to choose the better of the two options; you'll never know how powerful an effect that choice could have on the world around you.

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