The amazing Maya Angelou said this to Oprah Winfrey … and the more lived experience I gain… the more potent this message becomes.
No amount of money, career success or material possessions should ever come in the way of how we treat others and should never be an excuse for thinking you play a more significant role in the world . Adding value is not about a number, its about enriching the community around us.
Whether it’s our friends and family, our children, or the people that work with us or for us – it’s so important we show respect and kindness.
I was lucky enough to have a mother who radiated kindness from every inch of her beautiful self. She was truly the most self-less person I have ever known and I am both blessed and honoured to have her guide my early life. It has made me raise my own daughter to value two things in life above everything else – love and kindness.
I do not believe her academic achievements , how sporty she is, the career she choses or how much money she makes come remotely close to how kind and respectful she is to those around her. If she grows up to be half the woman her extraordinary Nana was – she will be extraordinary too.
I am becoming increasingly saddened by how little I see this around me these days . Parents seem to care more deeply about the money their children will make and the accomplishments their children will be recognised for than anything else. I see parents instil a sense of entitlement into their children (especially if they have some money) that makes them believe the world ‘owes them something’.
This is causing so many issues in young people today. And that age bracket for youth ranges from those in their early teens right up to their 30’s! It’s making young people unhappy for a start, as when things don’t go their way they suffer from serious mental health issues. And lets face it – life, more often than not, does not take the path you want it to. It’s making them difficult to employ and difficult to manage as they believe, they know best. It’s also making them highly unmotivated as they expect things to happen for them, rather than a need for them to work hard for what they want.
When you are (sadly) faced with a life or death situation – you are presented with a number of ‘neon signs’ at that scary point. I can assure you – not one of them says “it’s OK if you don’t make it – you were wealthy so you rock!!!”. Well – in my case, that sign was never gonna flash anyway!!
For me – I wanted to know I had touched a few lives along the way, that felt better for having known me. Once I survived – it only reaffirmed to me that making a difference for me was about finding ways I could make other peoples lives more enriched. But I don’t mean any huge, world changing projects – I mean try and enrich peoples lives as I run about my daily grind. Fundamentally – this is being kind and respectful and if there is a chance, making someones day/week/month/life a little brighter for having you in it.
I am fundamentally driven by helping other people. It utterly inspires me to make someone else feel happy and confident and give them an energy that changes the way they feel. I’m not a particularly spiritual person so this has no deeper meaning for me than just to make someone feel good – it’s really that simple.
If we all took the time to think about Maya Angelou’s words, maybe we would focus less on our inward fears and insecurities and more on our strengths. It encourages you to believe more in yourself, if you consider how you can inspire others through your own journey.
Health and wellbeing is not just about diet and fitness – it is about so much more. A strong body encourages a strong mind…. a strong mind encourages a kind heart.