Good Advice from Mother Teresa
I have often imagined that I would someday succeed at my creative endeavors beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve never been sure if this was my wishful thinking or my terror at the possibility. For that reason, I’ve often held back at attempting real success.
I’ve been afraid of a number of things, some easy to articulate and some less clear to me. Until now, I’ve lived with these thoughts privately. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Mother Teresa has addressed them all!
When I was in my Feldenkrais training, two of my trainers worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. They represented the Method well and made wonderful contributions to her work. They also learned a tremendous amount from her.
Russell Delman recently posted an essay about that time. At the end of the essay, he listed a number of things Mother Teresa said. I was amazed to read the list.
So many of the things she wrote about were exactly what I wondered about. If I am successful, will I have friends? If my life will change dramatically with a huge success, do I want it?
Here is the list. Thanks to Russell for passing it along:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Postscript, 8/17/2014 - In the months since I posted this, I've come to find that these are a paraphrase of "The Paradoxical Commandments," written by Dr. Kent Keith. His version was paraphrased by Mother Teresa and written on a wall of her childrens' home in Calcutta. That version has also evolved into the above statement, which appears in various other forms as well on the internet. So what is written above isn't strictly Dr. Keith, nor Mother Teresa. It is, however, the version that most moves me, the one that resonates with me most, and the one I chose to share with my children.