Some of us say bye and thank you while leaving, some of us leave quietly with the least gesture from our end thinking it might not make any difference to the host.
It may be true. You may think you are one in a crowd and can disappear unnoticed. You can live your life thinking that way and remain insignificant. Or you can make your presence felt by thanking the host and wishing goodbye pleasantly. When you do that not only do you rise out of being insignificant but you also make the host feel recognised for their efforts by noticing them and thanking them for it. There are no small contributions. People who feel they are insignificant are less likely to have a great impact. But people who notice each other’s presence can definitely make life appear far more worthy of celebration. Job, stature, results, money, awards, can be taken away from us. But what stays with us is our goodness. Our capacity to make people feel like they matter – is our greatest achievement and contribution to the world!
You can never change the world with your contributions unless you learn to recognize others’ contributions first.
Unconsciously, are we being too focused on excellence and achievement? Are we forgetting to emphasize values like kindness and gratitude?
We take to social media to share all achievements. We dress up pretty and put up photos. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. And yet beyond all those celebrations, do we have a creeping sense of being unfulfilled? Or irritation and anger on a daily basis? The key ingredient is missing. The fuel that runs humans is love. Love can be, or rather is felt, in the everyday thank you’s and thoughtfulness than the ‘once in a while’ grand gestures. When we celebrate only achievements, it might become an addiction and one might be led to believe they are only as good as the likes and congratulations they receive. And may get bogged down when they face failures. That’s a risk. That’s the reason why anxieties, fears, and depressions are on the rise. Not because they really lack anything. But because they feel they are not worthy unless they achieve something. We are literally teaching the world unconsciously that only achievements are worthy of celebration. Not intentions, efforts, values, kindness.
Homemakers feeling insignificant because they don’t earn money, intelligent children constantly working under the pressure to achieve and prove themselves – thinking they are only as good as their results. People who earn lesser feeling their contributions or professions are not significant enough. No! We aren’t as good as our results! We are as good as our efforts! Hence, please rise out of the shadows of insignificance and celebrate the efforts, not results of yourself and others. The world can’t run without homemakers making it possible behind the scenes. Our corporate jobs can’t run the world unless we have teachers ready to give up the corporate salaries and willing to teach our children for far lesser money (this might be true only in India where teachers are paid relatively lesser. A Ph.D. holder in the education sector draws a lot less than a graduate in a corporate sometimes. That’s a whole other topic again though). Without farmers, the world cannot run. Doctors cannot do their job unless they have nurses, cleaners and so many others doing theirs well. Our cities can’t run without the kind people who clear our garbage for us on a daily basis. Everyone has lofty dreams to achieve. But there are some people continuously working behind the scenes for far fewer comforts and luxuries than ourselves who make it possible for us to achieve in the forefront.
In our obsession to achieve, are we missing in thanking all those people? Have we created a sense of entitlement in ourselves and our next-gen? We don’t deserve anything. It would be foolish to think we deserve anything because we are good, intelligent, smart, or anything. We don’t deserve good things. We get good things because someone else chose to be kind to us. Even the most talented person becomes successful only when someone chooses to recognize their talents. The reason why you’ll stand out in people’s hearts is not that you are an outstanding person but because you were humane. People may be jealous of our talents at times, but they’ll always be grateful for our kindness.
Before we inculcate faith in religion and God, we should have faith in humanity and humanitarian grounds. Even if we have a million achievers, we need wonderful human beings to make us feel worthy and happy. Achievement is not a substitute for being human. It’s an added advantage for a good human.
Yesterday, when we finished a training program, we were in for a good surprise. A 9-year-old cute boy, Jayawardhan, the son of one of our delegates, chose to come to the screen. He requested his mother to give him a chance to say something to us. We didn’t know what we were in for. He came and thanked us for the change that he saw in his mother. And said he’d like to join the next program! We were blown away! He said he often hears that he is intelligent and talented but he isn’t very good at making friends. So he wanted to improve himself on that front – build more human connections! I have no words to express my joy looking at how self-aware and humanitarian he was being. He read us a poem that said something on the lines of,
‘Love me like I love you
Because something might happen tomorrow out of the blue
And I want us to be prepared’.
Much love to this little one! I should definitely ask him to share his words with the rest of the world for we really have a lot to learn from there. I really, truly hope we don’t undermine our thank you’s, hello’s and byes, and other everyday gestures that recognize the life of those around us and make them feel worthy! It makes us feel worthy too, to be able to spread smiles on those whom we meet. As they say, don’t appreciate the creator, if you can’t appreciate His creations too. You aren’t significant. What you say matters! It can raise someone from the shadows of insignificance and make them feel recognized! More power to each of us!