November 21     

Today's quotation:

Many people do not know that they can strengthen or diminish the life around them.  The way we live day to day simply may not reflect back to us our power to influence life or the web of relationships that connects us.  Life responds to us anyway.  We all have the power to affect others.  We may affect those we know and those we do not even know at all. . . . Without our knowing, we may influence the lives of others in very simple ways.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Today's Meditation:

"We have the power to affect others."  How easy it is not to acknowledge this fact, not to admit to ourselves that our words and actions may have a profound effect on other human beings in our lives.  The effects that I have may never be known to me, but they are real nonetheless, and the sooner I acknowledge and accept that fact, the more likely the effects that I have will be positive, loving, and nurturing effects.  I may never know what the ultimate effects actually are, but I can know what I contribute through the ways that I live my life and interact with others.

If I am going to affect others, then I want to affect them as an encourager rather than a discourager.  I want to lift people up rather than push them down; I want to foster hope rather than despair; I want to be a positive influence rather than a negative one.  And all of this, of course, depends upon the ways that I act, the things that I say, the actions that I take.

The way I live day to day is simply up to me, and it's important that I take that seriously.  I want to be a positive influence on others-- perhaps not in the ways that they hope or expect, but positive nonetheless.  As a teacher, I know that it's impossible to please everyone, and I also know that it's better to truly challenge young people than it is to pander to them and coddle them and keep them from learning how to gain some very important life skills.  It's not necessary to affect others in the ways they hope we'll act; sometimes, we truly do know what's best in a certain situation, and we may actually disappoint someone in the short term while benefiting them greatly in the long run.

You affect others.  They are happy with you, concerned about you, frustrated by you, and satisfied with you.  They feel safe around you or stressed to be with you; they think about you fondly when you're not around; they wish you were around more or around less.  The effects that you have on them are generally a result of the ways that you act, and if you choose to affect them in positive ways, it's simply necessary to choose positive, supporting, encouraging actions when they're around.  Treat others as you wish to be treated-- or even treat them better than that-- and you'll find that others truly enjoy being around you.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many of us think that we don't affect others much?

In what ways do you affect other people?  Are those ways adding to the positive in their lives, or the negative?

How would you like to be affecting others?  What would you have to do to accomplish that?

For further thought:

Each person takes care that their neighbor shall not cheat them.  But a day comes when we begin to care that we do not cheat our neighbors.  Then all goes well.  We have changed our market-cart into a chariot of the sun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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