When you think about people who’ve made a difference in the world, maybe you think about Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein or the Dali Lama. Certainly they’ve all made a difference, to the point of being famous for their efforts. But making a difference in the world is powerful even when the impact seems to be for only one or a few people.
My guess is there is someone in your life who’s made a difference for you. Perhaps he or she helped you when you could give nothing back, or they held out a hand when you needed it most. Maybe when you were feeling left out or alienated, that person was your friend. Maybe when you were vulnerable and hurting, someone helped you. Or maybe you’re grateful for a gift that has made a difference in your life.
I love to read and learn. Throughout difficult times in my life, reading has been a comfort and a solace to me. I remember when I was a child, I often sat on the floor in my room in our 100-year-old farmhouse, wrapped in a blanket and lost in a book, rain pounding on the tin roof. Many years later, that is still a memory of absolute comfort. My mother, a teacher, gave that love of reading to me in so many different ways. I am grateful every day for my love of books and I still miss rain on a tin roof.
Perhaps you can be mindful for a few minutes of someone who made a difference for you. Think of how that felt. The way it feels to you is probably close to the way it feels to others when they experience someone making a difference for them. Even small kindnesses you give to people you don’t know can make a difference. You’ve probably experienced that type of kindness as well.
Sometimes emotionally sensitive people discount the kindnesses they show to other people. By doing so, they invalidate themselves in their interactions with others and perhaps lose an opportunity to fully experience their connectedness to others.
Each day you have an opportunity to make a difference for someone. In doing so, you send a signal to yourself about who you are. If you are mindful of your kindnesses, you can self-validate your actions and your compassion, perhaps gradually increasing self-acceptance and decreasing painful feelings of isolation and aloneness.
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Last reviewed: 25 Sep 2012