Image for ‘To make a positive difference, I need to feed myself with positivity’

‘To make a positive difference, I need to feed myself with positivity’

Positive News subscriber Marjolein Rijken explains how the magazine fuels her appetite for change

Positive News subscriber Marjolein Rijken explains how the magazine fuels her appetite for change

“It’s people that make me feel optimistic: the people that surround me daily and want to make a difference. We’re such amazing beings really.”

It’s not always easy to see the good in people around us, but Marjolein Rijken manages it. Originally from the Netherlands, Rijken moved to England in 2014 for love. She found the green lanes of Devon the perfect place to indulge another passion of hers: cycling, which she describes as a form of “active meditation”.

Reading Positive News magazine is part of a wider approach that Rijken follows, called Appreciative Inquiry. Based on a behaviour change model developed in the US in the 1980s, it explores what is already going well and how that can be used to create a better future. “Positive News does the same thing: it illuminates the good stuff that people are already doing and it inspires and energises others to make a positive difference too,” she says.

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After a stint travelling, Rijken mostly stopped watching and reading the news altogether. “The sheer amount of what they show us about what is going wrong is paralysing to me. I feel that if I want to make a positive difference in the world, I need to feed myself with positivity as well.”

So how does she fare reading Positive News magazine? “The first thing that comes to mind is relief. Relief that there are still so many good things happening. It helps me remain hopeful, about mankind but also about the planet.”

Positive News magazine helps me remain hopeful, about mankind but also about the planet

Rijken works part-time on a programme for Devon County Council, helping the folk of Exeter make more active and sustainable travel choices. As well as volunteering on her local transition group (perhaps unsurprisingly in the green transport subgroup), Rijken is also in the process of setting up as self-employed. She hopes to help people work towards more positive narratives, and will include among her tools a board game called 360 Stories. Developed in the Netherlands, it is designed to foster insight into the lives of others and to encourage empathy and compassion.

“My optimism stems from our creative abilities,” she says. “We created the current world and the current narrative, so we also have the power to articulate a new story, a better and brighter world.”

Image: James Barke

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