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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Power of Your Actions...

“Actions speak louder than words” is a popular quote, to which I think we should add the following; “and the ramifications (of those actions) are life changing!”

We go through life focusing on “I”. It’s all about what “I” think, what “I” desire, what “I” am preoccupied with and what “I” deem worthy of our time and attention. We sometimes neglect to give value to our surroundings and that little lapse in judgment, sometimes unbeknownst to us (or possibly knowingly), has irreversible consequences.

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking about how I (sometimes) have been irresponsible, selfish in my past actions, and how I didn’t really realize or care about the consequences of my deeds unto others until now. The way I could have or have impacted others’ lives (or my own) slowly comes in and out of my mind like slides through a projector. I want to share with you (readers) someone else’s story, which resonated so deeply into my core and made me look back on my past actions…
I wish I knew whose story it was, but I’m sure the message coming through is the reason why he shared it to begin with. So here it goes…

“One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class, walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. 
I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends’ tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders, and just went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running towards him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms, and tripping him so that he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up, and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him.
So, I jogged over to him, as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!”
There was a big smile on his face. (It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.) I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said he had gone to private school before now. (I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.)
We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend, and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle, with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books every day!” He just laughed, and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, and that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business, on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found themself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had, and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech.
So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the real grateful one) and smiled. ”Thanks”, he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began, “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. People like your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you, that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”
I just looked at my friend with disbelief, as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker, so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later, and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me, and gave me a little smile. ”Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable…”
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me, and smiling that same grateful smile.
Not until that moment, did I realize its depth.

As I paste this story, I read it again for the 4th time and plunge deeper in thought…
It takes 1 moments, 1 look, 1 gesture, 1 word or a lack of any of the above, to affect someone positively or negatively. And sometimes, we don’t realize the effects our actions can have. Sometimes, we are not aware of the influence we have on others, and sometimes we just underestimate the power of our actions…

I was on the phone with my cousin a few days ago, trying to narrow down some plans. She reminded me of a past story, something silly that I had done. She was laughing so hard on the phone talking about it and the trickle-down nonsense that followed, that she had me joining in her laugh. I laughed, but the more I was laughing, my heart became heavy; heavy because at that moment, years later, I finally realise how deeply, how irreparably I had affected someone else’s life without giving it a second thought. I thought about how ridiculously I had behaved, and yet put it behind me because I hadn’t been affected by my own actions.

As a society, we are subliminally trained to think fast, which translates into making decisions or acting on something without thinking, and without weighting the pros and cons of our actions.

“Life is better when you think about how your actions will affect OTHERS instead of how your actions will affect you”
~Luke Watson

It is to no surprise that my thought-less actions are flashing before me, as if it’s all I do, while I can’t remember any of my acts of kindness to make me feel better.
This story makes me realize how important we all are on this earth. We all have a responsibility to be considerate, be concerned and simply be aware of our surroundings and the people in it. The impact that we have or could have on any one we come in contact with will have an impression on them …and on you.
Be aware of your power; be aware of the impact of your actions. Let’s identify with this amazing story as we all, at some point in our lives, help shape (positively or negatively) someone else’s life. Keeping in mind the power of you, will prevent the “should have”, “would have”, “could have” and the guilty unsettling feelings in the pit of your stomach. You won’t leave remembering what you can no longer change but instead you’ll leave you with a rewarding peace of mind…
My mind is not at peace thinking of my story, in which the ending is way different than “Kyle’s” (story). However, going forward I will act consciously on what I have grown to do unconsciously (be a respectful person that cares about others’ feelings), so down the road I will never have to be in the position I am now…full of regrets…

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”
~Mother Theresa

To consciously remembering to never underestimate the power of your actions…


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