or what we do
that makes a difference,
but rather who we are.
We don't give this routine much consideration, so it is very easy to just assume that we are limited, confined, fragile and our sphere of influence is reduced to those we meet or talk with in any given moment.
I think we often start our day inside a feeling of smallness. We forget that our influence is not limited to our task list, our meeting calendar or today's projects. In truth, we are not aware of how wide we reach, how many people we touch, and most importantly, how we are transmitting beyond our shells.
In part I'm simply talking about just lifting our eyes for a moment to take in a wider view of life. A greater awareness of the largeness of ourselves. When you do that, just briefly, right now, do you really think that you are this dinky body and nothing more? How can you be certain that people don't remember you, think of you, care for you and are impacted by you -- in ways that you have no idea of. In fact people right now who have never met you may have some kind of opinion of you.
Each of us has a reach that is far greater than it might seem.
Even people, like myself, who have decided that to reach out deliberately to touch others and to be a part of moving this world forward in a loving direction, may or may not be fully aware of this all the time.
But everyone makes a difference to someone.
You don't have to decide to change the world and help thousands of people to be making a difference in your world right now. In fact, you couldn't NOT make a difference if you tried.
The question is, what difference are you making? You don't have to sign up for any cause if you don't want to. But would you like that to be conscious of how impact works?
Anyone who is working for change certainly needs to. Without that awareness people try to influence in all the wrong ways, through bullying, guilt-making, pushing, forcing, and many other angry forms of activism. Every time you've been repulsed by someone's approach to donate to their cause, you were reacting to their impact on you. You were not reacting to the cause itself.
So, difference-makers (in other words, all of us), who are you?
Are you acting from the discomfort of your own badly-fitting shell? Your limited perspective? Your anger? Your frustration? Your blaming others for the state of the world?
I don't think any of us humans will ever be perfect, so forget being squeaky clean. But do pay attention to who are you being. Who you are being is not an action, it is an attitude. Here are some ways we can see you as you transmit who you are:
- are you opinionated or open?
- are you a listener or are you only interested in confirming what you think?
- are you hard with yourself, so you cannot allow yourself to forgive others?
- are you rushing so much that you find it tough to give someone your full attention?
- are you reflective in a conversation, or reactive?
- are you often thinking how other people need to change their ways and habits?
- are you blaming the person you love for not giving you what you need?
Of course we all show up all these way sometimes. No one is immune from being human.
Gage your true impact on others, not from your actions, but from the deeper ways in which you hold fixed opinions and views of other people. Notice the feeling in you when you talk to someone. What's your internal opinion? What do you think you are really transmitting to them? We are never transmitting words, we are transmitting US.
The smaller and more limited you feel inside you, the greater your negative impact on others -- no matter how noble your cause may be.
You cannot replace inner shrinkage with outer expansion. You must expand inwardly first before you can do anything effectively in the world, with your partner, children or your colleagues at work.
May you see something bigger about yourself today. In other words, may you see something true. Because the truth is that your shell is nothing more than the collection of all the smallest ideas you have about yourself. Who you are could never fit into any shell.
And knowing that makes a difference.