I was challenged recently in a thought provoking group to think about this question. It started me thinking about who I am; what do I have to offer the world, my community, my friends, my family? Do you ever stop and wonder about what you “bring to the table” of life?
What effects do you want to have on those around you? What effects do you have in difficult or challenging situations? What effects are you in control of in your life? How do people react to you? What do you offer to: make the world better; help other people; share with others; contribute?
First of all I want to clarify that we should be ourselves as much as possible within the constraints of appropriateness, our comfort zone and the situation at hand. There will always be someone we irritate or misunderstand; just as there will always be someone we affect adversely. There will also be someone whom we can not stand to be around.
Do you ever stop to wonder what it is that irritates you about them? Or what about you irritates them? Was it something you or they said, did, behaved badly about, or did they demonstrate a side of themselves you hadn’t noticed before?
But in a situation with friends, what difference do you make in encounters with them? Do people enjoy being with you? Do they enjoy your presence and input to conversations? Do they laugh with you? Do they feel comfortable sharing their time with you or even their fears and dreams?
When there is a stressful situation, not everyone is able to handle tension. Do you stop to think how the pressure is affecting the other people? Do you jump in and lead when there is an emergency or do you provide support to the “leader?”
We all have different abilities, so not everyone can be everything in any given situation. But each of us, whether purposefully or inadvertently, contributes something to a stressful event simply by our reactions. Do you add more stress to a situation or do you try to defuse the stress and try to bring everyone together?
These questions made me think about how I react to situations and then made me understand how I became who I am now. A large portion of who I am now, I learned from my parents and my childhood.
I think as I get older that I want to make a difference in the world. I want to be a factor in making the world a better place. Even if it is only in my “neck of the woods.”
I make kindness and compassion my hallmark personality traits. There are times that I fail at this but I aim to exhibit these qualities. Sometimes the news scares me, or angers me, or makes me feel hopeless. But usually after a brief period, my positivity comes through again.
Do you feel like you are helping to make the world a better place? How are you changing, even slightly, the attitudes or lives around you?