document.write(" arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">All of us want to make a difference. Our sense of worth is validated when we make a difference—in our family, at work, to our friends. The question is how?
The starting point is to focus on being rather than making a difference. Making a difference is not so much our performance as it is the natural out-flow of who we are. Our presence alone is enough to make a difference. Words and actions simply magnify the difference.
Difference springs from a heart that cares. When compassion is deeply rooted in the core of our being, we intuitively express sympathy (identifying with the anxiety or anguish of someone else in their suffering) and empathy (understanding someone else's plight by sitting where they sit or walking in their shoes). There is no other response to suffering from a heart that cares but compassion.
Compassion will not and cannot be confined to feelings of sympathy and empathy. Through acts of kindness, giving and sharing, compassion seeks practical expression. These are prompted not by pity but by the desire to empower.
A difference is made with small steps. Little things, like a smile, a compliment, a courtesy or a simple “thank you” make a big difference.
Blossom sold vegetables in the Linstead market. She was anything but her namesake when I first met her. Blossom's constant scowl matched her miserable disposition.
I determined to be the difference. Every time I passed her stall, I greeted Blossom with a smile and a friendly “hello”. Although her produce was not always the best, I purchased “a little something” regularly.
Several months passed before Blossom returned my greeting. With the ice broken, I paused often to chat.
As she perceived my sincere interest, Blossom began to share her story. I had no idea of the hardship she endured as the lone breadwinner for her family of five children. Someone with less character would have buckled under the burden Blossom carried because she loved and cared.
In Blossom, I 'discovered' a bloom in a garden of hardship. Little acts of kindness that acknowledge the goodness of others make a big difference.
Mahatma Gandhi said it well, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I am resolved to be that agent of change. Because I care!
Be the difference — care.
Question: Are you ready to make a difference? Are you ready to BE the difference?
Spread the Message
I have created a t-shirt to inspire others with this simple message. See it here. Purchase one and join me in the movement.
About the photo
Jacqueline Nytepi Kiplimo's shows compassion that ultimately cost her the race and the $10,000 prize. Hear her tell the full story.