“Nothing I do matters or affects anyone else.” I hear that more than I would like. Everything that any one of us does matters and has significant impacts. I often have people think about dropping the smallest pebble into a calm body of water. I ask them to describe what that would look like. They appropriately respond that there would be ripples in the water. I ask them to think of their behaviors, good or bad, and how those behaviors touch someone else.
They usually see things in a different light. I think about this scenario of dropping a small pebble into a body of water where the top looks like a glass table top, smooth and motionless. I think of my behaviors and words. The ripples in the water start so small, our immediate circle, and they spread out getting bigger and bigger as they go. Every single thing we do and say has an effect on people. People so far on the outside of us, we do not even know them. Impossible? No.
If you think about your actions for just a bit. Doing drugs, for example. People will say that that is a victimless crime. It is not. “I don’t do it around my kids or my family, so why is that a bad thing?” is commonly heard in the hospital where I work. Okay, let’s look at that.
1.) You are damaging your body by the drug use.
2.) You are doing it rather than spending time with your family.
3.) You are spending money on the drugs that could be going for diapers, milk, or food.
4.) You are breaking the law and if arrested, you are now causing more troubles for your family and your job, if you even have one.
5.) If your boss, again if you even have one, has to fire you due to your substance use, he may feel badly about that which can mean he may take home to his wife.
See how the ripples are spreading and growing bigger apart from you?
The negative actions that you thought could not harm others has just spread out to people you have never met in your life.
The same kind of things happen when we think one small gesture of kindness does not matter. It does. Very much in the same way the negative actions impacted others so far from ourselves, kindness and goodness affect others we are not even aware of. What you may believe to be insignificant, maybe bring great joy to others. Opening a door for someone, saying “hello” to somebody, just smiling at another can cause that smooth looking surface to be rippled and expand beyond our expectations and knowledge.
Everything we do in our lives has some sort of significance for others. Think about your words, behaviors, and attitudes about and toward life. Someone is listening, watching, and reacting and will somehow share that with someone else. How do you want to touch this world?