Are you humble if you have to prove your humbleness?
Sally Koch has the greatest saying. ‘Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day’. Recently, I was sitting waiting for a train to come and there was a spare seat next to me. An elderly couple came and stood nearby and I immediately stood and offered them both to sit. They thanked me and sat down and while I stood by, a man came up to me and smiled. He said that the gesture was a really nice one and after I, too, thanked him for saying so, I added, ‘why is this not the norm?’.
Why is this not the norm? Why is it that when someone thinks of another and an act of kindness is given, it is seen to be so generous? Now, while I appreciate the recognition, I also felt a little uncomfortable that I indeed, got it…the recognition. For something that I didn’t think twice of doing. Elderly couple…two spare seats…get up and offer it to them.
I recently watched a documentary series called The Kindness Diaries. I cried in every single episode, where the main person was able to demonstrate an array of acts of kindness by strangers towards him as he drove from Alaska to Argentina relying on nothing but the generosity that others would hopefully give him. He met many from all walks of life, and many didn’t think twice about helping him.
I get so emotional about this. I run a charity in Ghana and I love what I do. Helping others to help themselves. But the unsettling thing about doing this is not in the acts of kindness itself, but the fact that I then display these altruistic approaches all over social media. For what, I am not sure. To help me sell more bags on my online store? To show others I am a modern type Mother Theresa.
I have had several discussions on this with my closest friends and the general consensus is that I am crazy to think like that. That not many people would do the things that I would do. But let’s not underestimate the small things. I may have put myself in the position to gallivant around the world full time and serve others while I am at it but for those who can only donate a coin in a tin, I think it is worth just as much.
I do not have the responsibilities of a job, a family and many of the other things that keep people working consistently to make a life that they want to have. So, as much as I used to be proud of the fact that I could assist three schools and the students attending them, it doesn’t mean that someone providing for their own child to gain an education is not as worthy a praise.
My mind has been calm and serene for such a length of time, however, this one thought niggles in my head and has found its way to my soul. I am at an impasse where I need to sell my products on www.travellingbutterfly.com.au to fund the projects I do in Ghana but to show where the proceeds of the sales go to, I need to visually share it with others on social media.
This, I am not comfortable with. I haven’t been for a very long time. And here lies my little problem. If I could have one wish, it would be to be like Mother Theresa. To renounce my life, renounce what I have and to live among the needy, the poor, the people we think are less fortunate. To do this without recognition, without reward and without praise.
Because to me, this is what life is all about. The chance to make a difference in however a person chooses to do so and to leave a legacy that will inspire others. It seems so farfetched but it is isn’t at all. A difference can be made from big acts and also small acts. Never underestimate what a smile can do, a compliment, a hug or saying to another, ‘you matter’.
Surely, we don’t need these acts written in the sky. Because it is written in our hearts and that should be good enough for all of us to do. As I continue to grapple with my conundrum, I believe I can make balance of my goodness. Maybe a little more self-love is needed. To say that it is okay to receive love myself and to be told that yes, you are doing an amazing job.
But while I continue to process this, I will continue to wake up every day, thank the Universe for blessing me with another breath and consider the impact I can make for someone in that moment. I urge all of you who read this to consider the impact that you can make, too. You have already done it for me by taking the time to read my blog. Imagine what other acts of kindness you can do to impact another.
I will not continue having a Facebook page for my NGO, Leela’s Love. But before I do delete it and continue spreading kindness, please take a look at the amazing people that has allowed me to enter into their lives and share their family and home with me and accept a little bit of kindness from me to them. Overall, though, I have to note, it is me who is the most grateful for them showing me kindness with love.