“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.”-Mother Teresa
I don’t want to do good things and be upset for not being noticed for the things I do. I realized that the life I live is one that, I believe, is too selfish…I live too much for my self, stress too much over me, and want things just for me, far too often. I want to live for other people. I want to live with more consideration for others. And with the mindset that the only way this world works is through cooperation, and in harmony, with others. There are far too many people on this planet for me to think selfishly, for me to be only concerned with myself. And even with the fact that there are far too many people, millions I will never get the pleasure to meet, or know, or even pass by on the street, I still believe that the way I act, the way I carry myself, can make an impact on each of the people that I am blessed to come into contact with on a daily basis. Which in turn, has the potential to affect a whole chain of people, without my realization. Chain reaction. Domino effect, if you will. Only of people rising above, not falling.
I want to be unselfish. Not just the kind of unselfish where I’m willing to share a piece of my cookie with my little sister. I mean obviously that’s a good thing, but I want to be the unselfish that’s even harder to be…the kind that shouldn’t be hard, but the kind that is proven to be. The kind that people struggle to be on a daily basis, as is evidenced every day, in the news, the media, in every day settings such as school and work. The kind that we find sometimes we have to make a huge effort towards, the kind that doesn’t necessarily come easy.
The kind where we want to do good. The kind where we just choose to give to people…people we don’t even know, even if it means we personally won’t come away with anything in return. But that takes faith. And it takes courage. To give to someone you don’t even know, to someone that could be taking you for granted, or worse, taking advantage of you. It’s hard to be that unselfish. It’s hard to not want to just look after YOU sometimes, but I want to strive to be that unselfish. I want to have that much faith in other human beings. I want to show that much courage, that much compassion, for complete strangers.
And even when I feel like the world is going against ME, or life is being unfair to ME, I want to be big enough to step back and realize that my whining is bullshit; That this whole ME ME ME thing is bullshit. No matter how big a deal I may think it is, I am going to try to make it as positive, as productive, as possible. I want to turn my shitty experiences into lessons for my sister, her friends, anyone. I want to be able to know and acknowledge that there is always good that comes from any bad, although it may not come to show right away. I want to be patient. But more importantly, I want to realize that my pain is a mere bee sting compared to other peoples’ problems. Compared to the life threatening pain people are experiencing on the other side of the world, whether it be poverty, war…loss I couldn’t even IMAGINE.
It’s probably easy for me to declare how I want to be. It is easy. I have a truly blessed life, you could even say I’m spoiled. I am a young American girl, I have freedoms some girls would die for. I have access to things that I probably take for granted each and every day–food, shelter, means of transportation. I get to go to school, I don’t have to work. My parents are able to give me the things that I want. All my family members are healthy. I’ve experienced losses, but that’s life, we all have. All in all, I am a pretty lucky girl. So of course I can say that this is how I want to live.
But it’s probably harder for other people–those who have been through a lot more than I could even begin to imagine.
Like my mom, whose hometown, along with her childhood memories, were destroyed in the wake of war and violence. She was a young girl who could not even feel safe in her own home, because all she could hear/see were bombs being dropped in the near distance. She was a little girl who was seeing things no little girl should ever have to see…things that no human being should ever have to see. Whose teenage years were spent, not meeting boys at a party, but saying good-bye to the only boys in her life–a final good-bye to her older brother, who left to fight, and never came back. She was an 18 year old girl, not one that wished to move out and get the hell away from her parents and their rules, but one who was forced to leave them. Who would have given anything to live under their rules again. Whose reason to LIVE was for the day they would be reunited–to hug them, kiss them, say, “I love you”–the simple things she used to enjoy on a daily basis. Only to find that it would never happen. Only to find that that one night, at 18 years young, would be the last time she ever saw them. She never even got to say good-bye, she didn’t think she needed to.
I am separated from my family for about half a year, not even that, for school, and I get homesick; My mother was separated from hers at 18, and for at least 30 years. I went to college at 18…have been going through half-ass, maybe getting an A here or there; She was 18, not only thrusted into a top notch American university, but having to learn to speak an entirely new language on top of that, on her own, in order to even be enrolled. And despite it all, found a way to do it… getting straight A’s and graduating with honors in the process. My mother was stripped of her teenage years; she didn’t have a clue about my Homecoming’s, my Prom’s, teenage parties, etc. So while I will remember my teenage years and young adult life with fond memories…”the best days of our lives,” so they’re said to be, my mom will not look back as fondly on hers. Those are the times that she spends every day of her life now trying to forget.
My loneliness is bullshit, my homesickness is bullshit, and I have probably not even experienced half the heartache that she has endured in her life. And I probably STILL don’t understand the full extent, I probably never will.
Yet what does she do?
She silently rises above. She works hard, and never complains. She was ambitious and perseverent despite her struggles, and has made a beautiful life for herself, and for her family. She has succeeded, and continues to succeed. She loves me, she loves her family, she loves people. She gives and gives, and never stops. Her life’s experiences have not tainted her in the slightest bit; she is the most generous person I know. People take advantage of her, people walk allll over her…and some people say she’s too nice. But I think she knows that what she does is right, because she doesn’t stop. Because while some people take it for granted, others are completely impacted by it, as am I. Others are truly touched by it, again, as am I.
How is it that my mother, who has suffered so much, is able to live her life this way? How is it that she is able to give so unselfishly, provide for me, give me everything I want and need, every single day? When I, on the other hand am too selfish to take out the fucking trash, or just wash the dishes, for someone who has given me EVERYTHING?
Granted, I am her daughter…this is something that’s not so strange for a mother to do for her child. But how does she show the same love and generosity that she shows me…to her friends, her co-workers, her neighbors, her clients…to strangers? How can she be so fair… look at them with so much love in her eyes… with not even a hint of bitterness or hate? Despite what has happened to her in her past, despite how unfair a hand she has been dealt in her life?
I don’t know.
Because I’m a selfish, spoiled girl from Santa Clarita, because I think it’s all about me. Because I really do not understand.
No, but I do know. And at this point I’ve said so much, but right now I can’t even really explain why…
I’d like to be less selfish, realize my blessings, and realize that it’s NOT all about me. I’m beginning to understand…
I want to improve, evolve, understand, grow…I want to be all that I say I want to be, and I want to live up to it. I want to give, to not only the ones in my life who truly deserve it, or people who have done so much good for me, but to those that I don’t know, without intentions of getting anything in return. Just because I know in my heart that it’s the good thing, the right thing, to do. Just like anything that just should be without explanation. Just because.
I used to say that it scared me that I was starting to see more and more of my Mom in me, every day. But now I can honestly say that I couldn’t be more happy with that.