Things in our country currently might seem senseless and out of control. Socially, we are all quaintly aware of the tensions boiling under the surface. Often we see racial and class issues threatening to boil over into heavy violence. In fact, violent protests accompanied by police brutality are at its most prevalent. Economically, things are getting really tough out there. Family budgets are squeezed and squeezed even more by petrol price increases, irrepressible food inflation and unnecessary taxes (e.g. e-tolling). And this is just for the people with jobs. The rest are living in squalor, struggling to survive in a world where they don’t know where the next meal will come from. Already given up on finding any employment, they become desperate to survive and engage in any activity (regardless of its ethics) to live another day. It is not dreadfully difficult for all of us.
In such a dog eat dog environment, our selfish nature takes over. Instinctively, we start looking out for our own interest; fight for our own pocket; focusing only on ourselves and our continued existence. We become blind to the plight of others. In the rare occasion that we do recognize the daily struggles of others, we find that we have no energy or motivation to do anything about it.
Making a difference in the lives of others within such a hostile environment is very difficult. So many compassionate individuals start out with noble ideals and allow their fragile spirit to break when troubles seem overwhelming. The sheer exhaustion that goes with fighting their own battles and trying to help others becomes too much to bear. Others give up when their intentions to help turn against them by means of negative reactions or disappointments. Some become discouraged when they do not receive attention and appreciation for their actions.
The fact is that it takes a lot of effort to help others. It forces you out of your comfort zone and requires you to leave the things that you would rather be doing for yourself or order to do something for a person in need. Most of all, it takes an unpolluted concern for others, a profound concern that cannot be faked. It requires you to take reward from doing the right thing and not from gaining popularity or acceptance. It calls for courage to diligently keep on doing good even when you cannot see the immediate results of your work. It forces you to focus on the small daily offerings of help that makes someone else’s day less gloomy.
I just completed reading the book ‘Anyway – The Paradoxical Commandments’ by Kent M Keith. Many of you might have seen these commandments attributed to Mother Teresa. May these words inspire you to keep on helping others, to keep on doing what is right.
People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favour underdogs but only follow top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.