“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort.” ~ Humphrey Davy …
Culture and society tend to push the narrative that the size of our impact on the world and in the lives of others is the determining factor in how valuable one’s life is lived. But this is the polar opposite of reality, for even the smallest, tiniest, most minuscule of things, when done with great love and purpose, might change someone’s heart, might awaken someone’s mind, and might start the fire that will ignite the world. The power lies in the constancy and authenticity of the act–in our ability to do those “little things” with unceasing and unfailing love. Unfortunately, we want our lives to “count,” and for many of us the only way we know of to make sure that happens is to do something that others also see as “counting,” and so we seek to accomplish those big things that we feel will bring us recognition, appreciation, promotions, accolades, respect, and fame on a certain level. This misunderstanding, however, often leaves us with feelings of frustration, uselessness, and inadequacy instead.
It is important that we recognize that there is so much we can do on the small scale in life that truly matters in life and makes a tremendous impact on the lives of those around us. We can share our smiles and our kindnesses to others who are suffering from grief and misery. We can offer help and assistance to others in need, or give of our time and our talents to make this world a better place. We can volunteer, donate, and share of our bounties with those who are less fortunate. The reality is that in our day-to-day lives, there are endless ways to which we can sacrifice and fulfill our duties, in those little things and in small ways, that are meaningful, positive, and of great value and worth. And we do not need others to see what we are doing and comment on it or offer us praises; for when we seek validation from outside instead of feeling it within where it already exists, we embark on a fool’s journey. As a matter of fact, there are countless individuals throughout history who have lived complete, fulfilling, and loving lives without ever receiving recognition, and in many cases, it has been the recipients of their generosity and love who have gone on to be noticed, recipients who almost always attribute their successes and achievements to those who have given them so much love, kindness, and inspiration along the way.
Our lives are wonderous gifts. But if we spend our time here trying to accomplish grand things that we feel will make our lives count, then we might easily end up wasting and squandering so much of the potential and possibility that lie before us. Instead, let us seek to encourage, motivate, and inspire others through our kindness and compassion, through our smiles and love. When I die, I want to be able to say that I always tried to act out of love and kindness, not because I would be recognized for it, but because it is good, wholesome, and in dire need in this world that we live in.
Perform a few small acts of kindness today.
Questions to consider:
How have our cultures come to regard public recognition as being so important to us? Is it really?
What kinds of small kindnesses can you perform on this day?
Think about the smiles and kindnesses that you’ve received. How have they made you feel? Would you like to give that feeling to others?
For further thought:
“We restore the holiness of the world through our loving-kindness and compassion. Everyone participates. It is a collective task. Every act of loving-kindness, no matter how great or small, repairs the world. All those ever born have shared this collective work since the beginning of time.” ~ Rachel Naomi Remen