A story is told about a man who wasn’t happy about the state of affairs in the world, so he set out to change it. After a year of trying, he realized that he hadn’t accomplished anything so he thought to himself, “Maybe the world is too big and I should start with something smaller,” and he decided to change his community. When this too failed he reasoned that perhaps it would make more sense to try to change his family members but alas, the same result: everything was as it had been before. Finally, he realized that if he wanted to change anything in his world, he would have to begin by first changing himself.
We all wish for many things in life: inner peace, happiness, stability, good health, more money. But how will these outcomes happen? Have you ever heard people say: “If only that person or this circumstance could be different, then I could be happy.” Or: “If only this person would be more thoughtful, or if only I had a different sibling, or if only I got that job….” − you get the picture. In reality, the only person who we can truly change is ourselves. The good news is that when we begin changing ourselves, everything changes around us, too.
The only person who we can truly change is ourselves.
There was once a woman who noticed that the clothing her neighbor hung out to dry was always dirty. She pointed this out to her spouse: “Our neighbor can definitely use a new washing machine. Her clothing is always dirty,” the woman complained. One day the couple hired a window washer to clean their windows and they suddenly noticed how clean their neighbor’s clothing had become! They came to the realization, of course, that it was not their neighbor’s clothing that had been dirty, but it was their dirty window that had made it seem so.
Let’s stop looking outside and start looking inside.