I wasn’t sure exactly how to title this post, but I’ve had things on my mind for some time and wanted to put my thoughts down and share.
I am human and I am pretty darn imperfect, but I am trying to be a person I can be proud of, and set a great example for my children. Lots of people are great at being kind or generous in certain situations, at particular times of the year, or following natural disasters etc. My goal is to be the same person regardless of the situation. Not just when I am challenged to perform “random acts of kindness.” In a nutshell, I want to be kind, generous and positive. I want to give with no expectation, and that includes giving myself, not just “things” or money.
I am extremely self-critical and worry a lot about what others think of me, and I am constantly afraid I will say or do something to offend someone. I have a lot of anxiety and hate to think of the time I have wasted worrying about things that simply don’t matter.
The moment I truly realized and accepted that I have very little control over anything except my own reactions, it was like a light bulb went on for me. There is no sense in getting all worked up about traffic or long lines. All it does it raise my blood pressure (and make me look like a jerk, depending on how I react.) No sense crying over spilled milk is said over and over again, but it is so true. Clean the milk up and move on. Sure, take a look at why the milk was spilled and do what you need to do to prevent it from happening again, but getting upset about it won’t un-spill the milk!
In any situation, even the most tragic, instead of pointing fingers at others, look inward and ask yourself what you can do to change things.
I have seen lots of things on Pinterest intended to teach children to think before they speak (is it true, is it helpful, is it kind etc.) but children learn a lot more from what you do than what you say.
Take some baby steps to make the world a better place. When there is traffic and some jerk comes tearing up to cut you off (he must not have seen the zillion “lane closed” signs eh?) just let him over. Smile and move on. When you are calling customer service, realize that you are talking to a person (who likely had nothing to do with the error you’re calling about) and not a big corporation. Be calm, kind and patient. Realize that if you are offended, it’s your problem. Not the person who said or did the offending thing. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Substitute “offended” and it’s still true. Think positively, think the best of people. If someone said something that you found inappropriate, assume that you misunderstood what they meant and move on. (Certainly, if they are very close to you, you may want to point it out to them in case they were unaware of how what they said could be construed.) Walk away from online disagreements. I see it over and over again with parenting and political issues. You don’t need to be right, and your arguing won’t change the person’s mind. Be calm, be kind, share your thoughts, and move on. That’s more likely to get them to consider your point of view than arguing.
I want to believe that people are generally good, but it makes me so sad to see how rude, selfish, angry and hateful people can be, and that seems to be the norm now. Help me make the world a better place. Not just today, not just for 26 days, not just following the next national tragedy or disaster.
Practice deliberate acts of kindness, and don’t keep count.
Thank you for this post, Maria. It came at such a perfect time. I always tell myself that my goal is to be a better Mom than I was the day before. Some days I feel like I’ve failed at that goal, while other days I feel like I achieved much more. This also goes for being a better person. It’s so easy to get caught up in the things around you, that you lose sight of what is truly important. It’s so hard being a Mom, because I often times compare myself to other Mom’s and what they’re doing or not doing and feel like I need to be better. It’s all about competition these days and it’s tough. It’s hard to pull yourself out of that mindset and realize you are the best Mom to your child. I want to make sure I’m setting the very best example for my Son and it starts with how we interact with each other and how my Husband and I interact with each other. So my goal, from now on is to not only be a better Mom than I was the day before, but also a better person. Not only for my Son, but for myself and my Husband.
I want to take the second to last paragraph that you wrote and plaster it on my FB profile! Such true words of wisdom. Thanks Maria!
I actually use those phrases with my son because he REALLY does have a hard time thinking before he speaks. Despite my husband and I going out of our way to be kind, he also has other influences in his life that we can’t control…school, his dad’s house…I personally find those posts very helpful, but I get what you are saying. We should be setting a good example regardless of the season or current events. I just wanted to say that sometimes there are outside forces working on our kids and those little reminders can help them immensely.
Unfortunately, I think I know what you mean. My oldest child is in second grade, and it was a HUGE wake up call that I was no longer her only influence when she started school. I wish I could wrap her up and just protect her from the world, but I know that wouldn’t be the best choice, even if I could. All I can do is lay a solid foundation for my children at home, lead by example and keep communication open!
I agree, and most times it really takes some self-control and effort to set this example to my kids. It doesn’t come naturally to me! 🙂 I know I stress way too much over their messes!
Unfortunately some people are just WAY more sensitive than you. I’d love to just NOT be offended but when people say you’re a horrible human being (because I refuse to watch the news, btw). How am I supposed to NOT be offended by that? *I* am horrible because I fix dinner for my kids? or because I value my own sanity (how depressing was the news even BEFORE this latest tragedy?) over knowing every celebrity tidbit? Ugh. Especially being defaced in a public forum like online and no one sticks up for you, you feel like everyone then agrees with the bully. So now there’s 20-30+ people who automatically assume you’re a horrible person because someone else said so. Kind of screams unfair.
I am extremely sensitive! I am far too likely to have my day ruined by someone in a forum jumping on me, and I have shed many tears over online bullies. I tend to be tight lipped and keep my thoughts to myself for the most part. I was shocked that I wasn’t attacked for my son’s birth, but I WAS attacked for suggesting that a woman do her own due diligence, not taking what her medical provider says as truth, no matter how much she trusts him/her. Go figure. I am trying to grow a thicker skin, but I avoid conflict at almost any cost.
Also, remember that you can’t teach a pig to sing. It just frustrates you and angers the pig. If people were jumping on you, it’s because there’s something wrong with THEM not you.
Jill, I know I’ve commented twice but I just can’t stop thinking about you because I have been in your shoes and I know how much it hurts. My comments in this post really were more directed towards people like those who attacked you, rather than you. Is what they said helpful? No. People seem to say things through the anonymity of the internet that they wouldn’t say in person, and I always try to ask myself that question. Would I say this to her if she was standing in front of me? If the answer is no, I don’t say it. People have small minds and can’t seem to be open minded enough to see others points of view. You are a wonderful person and please don’t let some bullies get you down!!
Great post Maria. Words to remember as we begin a New Year with new beginnings.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Thank you for writing this.