Discussing April’s Challenge

Acting with “great love” has proven to be quite a challenge. As today is the first of May, I wanted to give you all a brief update on three things I discovered about myself during my month of following Mother Teresa’s advice and acting with great love:

1. I hold others to (impossibly?) high standards. When focusing on acting with love, I realized how often I get upset with others for not living up to my expectations, my high standards. And is that really their fault? Sometimes they have no idea what was even expected of them! So in the last few weeks I’ve begun to learn that forgiving others for small shortcomings is a great way to make your everyday life happier. I’m less upset with the random driver who forgot to use his signal, or a friend who shows up 20 minutes late.

2. Being mad at yourself is not a great way to start the day. Here’s an example: I have a terrible time waking up in the morning, and I press the snooze often. While this is something I’ve been working on, I really nag at myself and feel bad when I realize I’m up late and will have to skip straightening my hair or making eggs for breakfast. The easiest way to wake up in the morning is with self-love. You forgive and move on with your morning – it’s that simple.

3. Genuine gratitude is the best. Saying thank you to the person bagging your groceries? Tipping your waiter? It’s easier to say “thank you” when you really mean it. In the last few weeks I’ve had more conversations with those providing a service to me than ever before – and I leave the store/restaurant/coffee shop feeling better than when I came in. While I’ve always been good at saying “Please and Thank you” (Thanks, Mom!), it was focusing on acting with love that has made usually automatic interactions more real and positive.

great love

Small Things with Great Love

[Let’s just say March was busy and move on from there.]

This morning I was looking for some snippet, some quote, some tea-ism to bring feel-good motion to my day. Before I even tried a Google search, this little quote came to mind:

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
Mother Teresa

In this short sentence Mother Teresa shared that the greatest thing we can do in this life is to complete every task and live every moment with great love. While she’s saying a lot of things here (I’ll leave the true analysis to philosophers and theologians), this is what I got out of it: Our greatest, most powerful ability as humans is to love greatly. And, it is possible to make a difference by doing small things backed by this great love.

So I started thinking: What would driving to work “with great love” look like? How would buying our groceries “with great love” feel like? What would raising our children, talking to our parents, passing by strangers, or sending out emails “with great love” look like?

As part of living 2014 to the fullest, I’ve decided that I’m going to step away from my New Year’s Resolutions for the rest of April and focus on doing small things with great love. I’m honestly not sure what this is going to look like in my day to day. Do I think I can complete every action with great love? Probably not even half. I’m human. But I’ll report back here during the process and once May hits, to let you know how it goes.