Each time I was feeling low and on the verge of quitting, I had a thought for those less privileged. I guess I was my own mentor/coach. But with time, I sincerely realized that my problems or at least what I perceived as problems were the results of a life full of things taken for granted and depreciated. In other words, my ‘problems’ could in fact be a joy, delight, treasure, to someone else. In fact, there is a saying that goes: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
When I complained about having too-much work and felt a lot of stress and despair, I stopped and realized that I was lucky to have this great abundance as it’s a recognition of my hard work. I was commissioned more work because I brought value to someone (or something). From there on, I didn’t see work anymore as a problem but as a blessing. Who can complain about being her own boss, working whenever she wants and making money? I also lost clients (many in fact). This is what happens when things are taken for granted and you stop making efforts. Every time I lost a client, it was hard for me to accept. And later, I came to understand that there has to be something to be done. Clearly I was doing something wrong. A self-assessment can only be beneficial in work or life in general.
On another one, my second son, soon turning one, can only be described as a ‘piece of work’. Ever since he was born, I stopped having a life. He wakes me up several times a night (even now), requires so much attention from me, cries a lot and very loudly. The only way I can calm him is be with him, talk to him, play with him etc. This drains my energy and leaves me flat dead by 8pm. I wanted to be fully present during his first year of life and be there for him in every way. This didn’t come with any price. I often had nervous breakdowns. I couldn’t understand my own son’s needs. And most of the time, I thought this wasn’t cut out for me. But then, I thought of friends who wish just for finding someone in their lives or have a baby. In fact I was blessed with two. These children require so much from me because I chose to be there for them. Being with them was and still is an investment time for me.
During this year, I also had other personal and professional challenges. When I start talking to myself about my problems (yes, I do that!!), I feel ridiculous and small especially when I know people are fleeing their countries because of war or ethnic cleansing. Or because they are not sure to be able to eat tomorrow or the day after. When I have these thoughts, my big problems become laughable and quiet silly.
This brings me to think that because I had the chance and the blessing to have all what I have, material and non-material assets, it is my job to give back and share. My job is to bring value and serve others. True, I don’t like to feel forced or pushed but I know, deep down, that I have something or many things I should benefit others from. It does start with my own children but it expands around me and I hope it gets larger with time.
We are truly a connected world and things shouldn’t just be about us. My eldest told me last week that he didn’t like cars. I asked him why. He said because they pollute the earth. I said he was right but that in today’s world, there are electric cars that respect the environment. He asked why then people didn’t buy that car. I said because they cost more than the regular ones and people didn’t want to spend all their money on a car. He then said: ‘What’s more important? Saving the planet or not having money?’
This brings me to think that we are born as selfless people. My 7-year-old clearly knows his priorities. They do change, indeed, with time and influence from the society.
So, what are your excuses not to bring a positive contribution to our communities, society, country and world? What are your excuses not to create, build, learn, share, volunteer, teach, help and give back? As long as you have a roof over your head and food on your table and visibly power, a computer and an internet connection, your problems are laughable.