The interesting thing about this statement is that Anne- more than anyone- was in a place where it would make sense to just sit and wait. She was living in hiding, and definitely had reason to put off “improving the world. She could have easily said, “when I get out of here, when the war ends, when we’re free, I will do x, y, z…”
How often do we wait for our situation or for the people in our life to change rather than working on change ourselves? Once I’m out of school I’ll have more money to give to charity. If my husband wouldn’t be so lazy then I wouldn’t have to be so demanding. If I had more money I wouldn’t have to be in such a bad mood all the time. When I get married I’ll start living like I should.
Any of these sound familiar?
The tough part about entering conflict, struggles, healing- is that it starts with us. It starts with a good, long, hard look at my self, my soul, and where I have hurt others. I don’t have to wait for an apology from someone else before I apologize, don’t have to wait for my friend to change before I work on changing myself, don’t have to wait for that coworker to start being more respectful before I can start respecting him.
Looking at our own stuff is extremely difficult, which is probably why we avoid it so well and are so good at blaming others for everything that is wrong in the world. But it is important if we desire to contribute to the beauty in the world. Part of my own healing process has been looking not only at where people have sinned against me, but also where I have sinned against others. I had to own up to the fact that in the past I have been codependent and controlling. I had to look at how I acted passive aggressively in situations of conflict rather than approaching them with love and respect. I had to look at ways in which I intimidated others by hiding all my weaknesses and appearing to have it all together.
It may not seem like a big deal, but by working on those weaknesses, I truly think I have started to improve the world- at least the part of the world I touch.
What situation or person are you waiting to change before you start to improve the world? Could you start working on your own change instead?
Tomorrow’s Women’s History Month Trivia. Who said, “I want you to pay me for my beauty, I think it’s only right, because I have been paying for it all my life.” (hint, it’s a song lyric)