“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa
Some are destined to do great things with their lives, live it in the public eye, and show or teach us something unique.
We all know of influencers and world leaders that have inspired us and done great things to make the world a better place.
Mother Teresa’s gift was her compassion and love for the poorest of the poor. She chose to live among them to alleviate suffering and founded the Missionaries of Charity to do her work on a larger scale.
She won a Nobel Prize and has been canonized, i.e., declared a saint. But these were not her goals.
Her goal was service, not greatness.
And some have criticized her. Once you’ve reached international fame, chances are you will have critics in addition to admirers.
But I digress.
My point is, she did what she was called to do. Her goal was not self-aggrandizement. It was service, service that brought her recognition.
Everyday contributions are a sign of dedication.
“Set your course by the stars, not by every passing ship.” ~ Omar Bradley
When we work to make the world, or at least our world of those in our care, go-'round, we are living our greatness.
You might be thinking you are “just” a mother or “just” a clerk at the grocery store, but what you do affects people’s lives in big ways.
Mothers, more than any other group of people serve day-in and day-out, 24/7, with little recognition and sometimes an overabundance of criticism. This does not deter them.
Mothers are architects of people. And they know this. They know they are building a foundation for children who will one day be adults, citizens of the world. And those adults will be making some pretty big decisions.
It’s a huge responsibility, and it’s one women have undertaken since the beginning of time.
Nurses, doctors, and nursing assistants have all been on the front lines risking their lives over the past year. They are heroes and heroines, yet they are, in a sense, just doing their jobs. Doing what they need to do to be good people.
And they are helping the country and the world to recover from a pandemic. They are simple people doing great things.
What is your contribution?
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ~Epictetus
Some of us are don’t even make it out of our pajamas these days.
We work from home, stay inside, and social distance. We don’t go much of anywhere. The highlight of our day might be going for a walk or attending a zoom meeting.
Sometimes the only time I go out is to bring out the trash. I do all of the above. And except for zoom meetings, I wear a mask and leave it on until I shut my front door behind me. If I order take out, I follow the restaurant's directions and stay six to ten feet away from people.
I enter and exit using the doors they’ve designated.
I leave a tip in the tip jar, a dollar or two.
At this point you might be thinking, “so what?” And you’d be correct. I am not doing anything great, but I am doing what I’ve been asked to do, reacting how I’ve been asked to react so that others stay safe.
I’m not ignoring the rules because I’m finding it difficult and making life worse for people around me. I am not one of many who refuse to wear a mask or berate wait staff for not showing their pearly whites.
I am not doing anything extraordinary.
But I’m being the best person I can be. And that’s what matters.
The cost of negativity
“Anger, and the self-righteousness that is both the cause and consequence of anger, tend to be easier on the psyche than personal responsibility.” ~ Barry Eisler
If you’ve refused to follow the social distancing guidelines, walked around without a mask, and written scathing social media posts, you’ve added to the feeling of negativity and probably to the anxiety many of us are feeling these days.
It might make you feel good to spew and rant. And you might think that it hurts no one and helps you feel better, but think again.
Have you considered the power of your words and how they may have hurt people? Maybe you have and don’t care. Your aim is to show the world you are angry, and your anger and dissatisfaction are more important than theirs. You fail to see that we are all in this together.
And you may have used your words against people closest to you, those who need your loving kindness.
It’s ego at its worst.
Do Your Best
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Doing your best is a tall order, and it may even change from day-to-day. Begin by changing small things you can control.
Try not to respond negatively to a post on Facebook. In fact, try to NOT look at Facebook or at least delay it.
When someone in your life irritates you, stop and think. And if you can think of nothing encouraging to say, smile and say nothing. Walk away. You don’t have to have an answer for everything.
No one has that power.
It’s a small thing for sure, but the little things add up. Compare it to removing one piece of plastic from the ocean, and then think of what happens when many people do the same thing.
Don’t delude yourself into thinking you have no influence and know that it can be good or bad.
Do, or don’t do in the case of posting comments, small things to help others.
You’ll be doing something small in a great way.