A few weeks ago I was asked to write on something I feel strongly about, back then I tried analysing social issues and worldly problems, assuming that’s what needed to be written about, but somehow I couldn’t. I know now this is because what I feel most strongly about are the smaller things in life, the things that lead up to the rest, the things that add up and make you bigger than their sum.
I’m not one for rhetorical questions, but do me a favour and ask yourself this..
What is the worst kind of company you could have?
What is the source of selfishness?
What compels you to try harder when you’ve decided to give up?
Seem kind of unrelated, don’t they? But here’s my theory.
The worst kind of company.. The smokers? The drinkers? The stoners? The women with the short dresses or the men with leather jackets? The liberal minded who compel you to accept before you judge or the moralistic that force you think before you act? No.
The worst kind are the ones that tell you you’re not good enough. The kind that belittle you. The kind that are never satisfied no matter how much you give. The kind that forget to say thank you. You can always cut off from peer pressure when you choose to, but the negative thinkers instil negativity in you. They make you believe, even when you fight it, they’re right there telling you you can’t win. They plant the seed of doubt in your mind that comes back to haunt you every chance it gets.. Blossoming and withering you, every time you let it return.
Selfishness I believe is not something we’re born with, its something we learn. Something that’s reinforced in us every time we’re taken for granted, every time the big bad world pushes us down and we have to stand right back up, we grow more resilient, we grow more selfish. Learning to look out for ourselves, learning to be self sufficient, learning to fight back, and sometimes to never look back at our trail of “collateral damage”. Each man for himself, right? Wrong. None of us want to be selfish, its what the world teaches us. Its what we teach ourselves.
We try and try and kill ourselves trying, to be smarter, to be prettier, more desirable, richer, to just be better. We are relentless in certain pursuits, for we know we will succeed someday, or at least never fail, knowing we’ve tried our best. All it takes is an occasional word of encouragement from someone, or a drive from within, telling yourself its only a little more before things get better.
In case you haven’t quite gathered it already, the thing I feel most strongly about is appreciation. The indomitable power of it, that overrides everything else.
Don’t feel gratitude, appreciate. Don’t thank meaninglessly, appreciate. Don’t just love, appreciate.
Appreciate everything and everyone, you’ll feel yourself expand with every allowance of this feeling you give yourself.
Appreciate the mother that sits down to keenly hear all about your day despite having an exhausting one herself.
Appreciate the effort made by the student a little behind in class. Don’t tell him he got it all wrong even if he did. Tell him it was a great effort and you believe he can do better. Teach him how to and he will get it right.
Appreciate the friend that prioritizes your problems over their own. It’s not easy, and it is NOT their job, but they do it for you.
Appreciate the driver who stopped so you could cross the road, he didn’t have to, but he did. And next time, stop so someone else can cross the road. Not because you should, but because you can.
When you see someone doing good, tell them. Say it. Show it. Do not trust that they will “know” somehow. Do not take what they’re doing for granted. Remember to appreciate the bigger things as well. Yes, seems too obvious but those are the ones we forget to acknowledge, for they are the ones we expect, the ones we get complacent with.
Before you do any of these, appreciate yourself. Know you have done your best when you have, know you can do better when you haven’t. The world cannot and will not value you unless you take pride in your achievements, and most of all, in yourself.
You may not be able to make the world a better place just yet. But you can do this, make yourself and the world a tiny bit warmer.