From a young age, we are often trained and taught to assert our independence and to excel in relation to other people. This begins in school, as we begin to distinguish ourselves through grades, awards and other distinctions that we can receive and this often continues through adulthood. And this is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as our interdependent nature is also understood; that we really are much more connected than we are separate – we are connected to ourselves, to the people, the environment, the vast world around us. What we do in the smallest of ways makes an impact. It affects us, and it affects the people and things around us. And when we believe in our hearts that we are connected, it begins to elevate the altruistic nature of what we do. We begin to extend it beyond ourselves and we may question whether what we are doing is somehow adding to the greater good.
Mother Theresa was once asked what is the biggest problem in the world today and she answered without hesitation: “The biggest problem in the world today is that we draw the circle of our family too small. We need to draw it larger everyday.” Draw the circle of your family larger, beyond you, beyond your nuclear family. Maybe consider one person whom you may not have given a second thought too or perhaps it was a thought that may not have been nice, and allow yourself a moment to look at them through the eyes of compassion and just observe. Observe how that changes how you feel; how you feel about yourself, about the other person, and how it may shift how you may interact.