Today I was reminded of one of the most important lessons I keep being reminded of over and over and over again: You never know how deeply your actions or words will impact someone. A word or action that feels insignificant to us might actually have an important and lasting effect on someone else. I think the majority of us can remember a time that someone said or did something for us that had a drastic impact for better or worse. It’s often the little things that make the biggest differences.
I try to remember this lesson when I am silently cursing someone on the subway and giving him or her the dirtiest, meanest stare I can muster. I try to remember this when I say something that may not be so kind. It’s hard though. Sometimes people are stupid and infuriating. Sometimes I just want people to do better than they are in the present moment, forgetting that they may actually be doing the best they can in that moment. There is a quote attributed to Buddha that always resonates with me and never fails to remind me of the power we each have to impact others. “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.”