Properly gauge your disappointments…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you look back at life what are your greatest disappointments? At the time did you recognize them as disappointments or is it only through the lens of time that you recognize them as regrets?

I find that there are many times I am disappointed by something that happens within daily life, but when I take a moment to pause and think about what is truly important I realize that whatever minor setback or disappointment I am dealing with at the moment isn’t all that important. In a month, a year or five years, it won’t even matter… What will matter is focusing on what is truly important.

Do you know what is truly important? Do you have a clear definition of what WILL MATTER in a month, a year or five years? Are those things clearly defined and serving as a compass in your life? What is the anchor for your hope?

This quote reminds me of this verse from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Regardless of your religious beliefs, do you have a clearly defined compass for your hope? Are you using that compass to properly gauge your daily disappointments?

What are you doing for others?

“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

What are you doing for others today?  In the next hour?  Right now?  

Sometimes in today’s world it can feel like life’s most urgent question is: “what are you doing for yourself?”  It is easy to get caught in a spiral of me me me because that is what society seems to be all about.  Especially with social media, etc.  

I do think it is important to answer this question in the proper tense. ‘What am I doing’ versus ‘what have I done?’  It feels that answering in the past tense is looking for praise or a pat on the back.  Focusing on doing for others keeps it future oriented and not about ourselves.  

Perhaps it is worth creating a mechanism and intentionally reflecting on the answer to this question?  Just once a day or once a week for 10-15 minutes?  

Actions speak louder than words…

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

There are so many ways that one can take and interpret this quote.  Today I read this as being aware of the importance of knowing that even when you don’t say something, your behaviors might reflect what it is that you are thinking.  You are responsible for those behaviors in the same vein as if you had spoken the words.

The key difference here is that when you speak the words you can invite dialogue about the meaning behind them.  When people are left to interpret behaviors there is no dialogue unless you have created a place where that kind of conversation is safe and encouraged.

It is far easier to reconcile the words you have spoken than it is the behaviors you have demonstrated.  Words have specific meaning, and while misunderstanding is very common, at least there is a platform to create a conversation and come to a common understanding.  Not so with your actions, those are interpreted through the filters by which others see the world and dialogue and understanding is not nearly as easy to come by.

So what does all this mean?  Recognize the importance of your actions and know that even if those actions line up with the words that you have in you mind, that no one else is hearing those words.  They will interpret them through the lens through which they view the world.  You are as responsible for those actions, and how they are interpreted,  as the words you speak…

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