Making the world a better place

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
– Rumi

I always thought my mission in life was to make the world a better place. I tormented myself with these dreams and ideas and questions. The endless stream of questions was what tormented me the most: “How was I going to do it? Should I start my own charity? Maybe it’s by becoming a human rights lawyer or campaigner? How would I get there? Would I make my mark in this world? Would I save the world and would people remember my legacy?”

Gosh. Those are extremely demanding questions to ask of anyone, let alone of myself. I used to get extremely bogged down by these questions to which I had no answers to. Of course I would try: I did the volunteering, interning and working; I did the studies, I read the books, I even marked out a plan to my Mum, but I always felt lost, out of my depth. And when I started to feel all those things, I felt pretty useless and then I felt like a failure.

I remember one morning late last year when I was hanging up some clothes in my wardrobe, that a clear realisation hit me: perhaps I am not supposed to make the world a better place. Suddenly, with the weight of those words falling from the tip of my head to the depths of my stomach, I felt at peace. I accepted it and it felt ok.

That afternoon, a friend came round for a cup of tea. A lot had been weighing on her mind but I got the impression that she was at pains to talk about it. I had asked after her family. What I thought was an innocuous question opened the floodgates of tears, fears and regrets. I sat with her on my comfy couch, I held her hand and gave her a big bear hug, with all my might. She let it all out, and I was grateful.

When my friend left I suddenly knew. Making the world a better place is most of time not “saving the world”. Most of the time it’s the little things like telling a friend that you are there for them and are proud to be the person they opened up to.

It’s funny, you have an idea of what something ought to be, and then life turns round and shows you how limited in your thinking you were.

4 thoughts on “Making the world a better place

  1. Charity really does start at home. Just lending someone an ear can make a huge difference in their world. Nice story Gems. Gonna try going a little easier on myself too 😉

  2. Thanks so much for your post A. I think it is so important to go easier on our ourselves and who knows what wonderful things it all may lead to…I hope you keep reading

  3. Pingback: Little victories | Living room philosophy

  4. Pingback: Do what you can, according to who you are | Living room philosophy

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