All day long your ego walks in a sea of its own thoughts. And where you are has very little to do with what you’re experiencing. And all around you other people are doing the same thing you are.
There is a beautiful, heart-wrenching quote by Plato that goes, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Each day, take the opportunity to take some weight away from the load of another through simple kindness. On a very challenging day, someone simply smiling and holding a door for you can have an enormous impact.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Hold a door. Help a mom get her groceries loaded. Stop to help that person changing the tire. Ask the crying person if there’s anything you can do. Because when we get out of the inside of our own heads, we’re free to be available to others. And that is when we are at out best: when we aren’t creating an ego by thinking about ourselves. It’s like in emergencies—we’re best when we simply act. The secret to being heroic is simply to not get in the way of your natural instincts to offer love.
For the next few days, do your best to stay conscious of the experiences going on around you. Look at people’s faces for signs of their thought chemistry. Don’t be shy about offering compassion, connection or empathy. These are beautiful forces that enrich our lives. As a friend who worked in a refugee camp once said to me, “it’s funny, I work around tragedy and yet I’ve never seen so many inspiring heroic things in my life.” That’s how people stay doing that work. They get something out of it that’s worth it.
Help others to not feel so alone. Connect to them even with a smile. There’s no reason for us to surrender our ability to affect the world around us. And even when you can’t impact it, please try your best to be patient and understanding. Because while this video is centered on a hospital, it’s important to remember that almost all of the people in it will eventually be back outside, living among the rest of us, and they will still be very deserving of our compassion. Just as we are deserving of theirs.
And never assume your situation is worse than the ones around you. Because just like the times when no one recognized some of your darkest days, some people around you are living theirs right now. So go be compassionate.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.