Ever since I joined Toastmasters in 2015, one of my most favorite part of each session is the President’s address (weird, right ? Second is the Table topics session). In the introductory part, the Club President shares a small story or an analogy and sets the tone for the meeting. I wanted to share with you all, one story I heard in our recent meeting :
After World War II, Germany was divided into East and West. “Berlin Wall” divided East and West.
In an act of antagonism, East Berliners filled a garbage truck and drove it into West Berlin late one night. They dumped the trash all over the streets and then retreated back to East Berlin on foot.
A few days later, the truck returned under cover of darkness. But instead of the filthy garbage that the East Berliners expected to see in it, it was full of canned goods and non-perishable food items coming from the West Berliners.
On the food was a sign that read “Each gives what he has to give.”
Isn’t this such a beautiful story ? I was contemplating about a question since sometime and was just growing restless wondering and pondering over it. That’s when this analogy struck a chord with me.
I was wondering how can some people be OKAY hurting you? With their words or with their actions or even silence? How can some people be OKAY watching you hurt? This question is of paramount importance especially when “those people” are the ones you trust and care about. Then you set to wonder, is it about you or is it about them?
I have had strangers stopping by to give me a lift and drop me at my destination some 50 kilometers away ! And mere acquaintances who got off the bus in heavy rains, to help me find my lost keys!
A few days back while we were heading for a family lunch, I fell off my bike and bruised my arms and legs. As soon as I reached the venue, noticing my injury, my aunt – who I was meeting after over two decades, rushed to give me first aid. She didn’t have to do that for me. I barely knew her. But yet she did. Why ?
Is the goodness, love and kindness you get, all attributable to your own self ? I guess not.
What we receive is not just a function of who we are and the kind of rapport we share with the person.
It is so much more about who they are.
We end up giving what we have, similar to the concept of beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
I applied this analogy today morning, to my restless question. What we get – is not merely a reflection of us and our relationship, it is more – a mirror of who they are as individuals. The ones with love and compassion will give you kindness. The ones who lack integrity, will end up raising questions on yours; no matter how close you’ve been. The ones who lack compassion, will be okay seeing you hurt.
We can’t change the world, but we can surely change ourselves. As my friend Erika‘s blog shares this lovely message from M. K. Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
So, next time you feel let down, remember – it is about them; not you. And don’t ever fall down to their level. Give what YOU got – the best within you. Because, in the end you’ll know that it was never between you and them.