While I certainly admire successful people, my goal is to emulate those who also seek to help others through their words and actions. I was on this path at one point and was stopped for many years, mistakenly thinking that I had found what I was looking for.
Once the veil was eventually lifted and I began to see, interact and search once again, I found that I had actually stopped VERY far from my destination. I started to find myself again, both through introspection and through the teachings and writings of great people from modern society as well as the past. Among these people was Dr. Maya Angelou.
There was a very simple quote of hers that Oprah Winfrey shared as having an impact on her life, which she shares in the video below. The saying is, “when you know better, you do better.” At first it seems almost too simple, but when I thought back about all of the mistakes I’ve made in life, and how I’m trying to live now, this most certainly seems applicable.
I’ve often been asked how on Earth did I wind up making some of those past mistakes or being involved with some of those past groups. Despite many hours of explanation, the simplest and most truthful answer was that I was doing the best I could with what I had, where I was and who I was with. When I learned more, I changed for the better.
Because of this, I now try to give people the benefit of the doubt when I see harmful actions against themselves or others. I am of course still very far from perfect, and so are they, and I try to think that if they only knew more about what they were doing, maybe their actions would be different. I’ve seen and experienced tremendous change in myself and others, and I try to hold out hope that more positive change can come to areas of conflict and bring peaceful resolution to opposing groups.
This may be naive, but I’m okay with that. I’m happy to hold on to that hope and try to do my part to help.