“We must Be the change we wish to see.” We hear this quote so often. Recently, I wondered if I really understand what it means. Or if I know how to actually go about “being the change.”
I often think about what I want more of in my home, reflecting on what I’d like to see different or better within our family environment. Let me share a story that illustrates one way I “became the change I wished to see.”
My daughter, Abigail, had a tough school year in 5th grade. Math, in particular, was not much fun. Frequently, Abigail would lay in bed at night and tell me that she was worried about a particular class, a particular teacher, or afraid she would forget all the state capitals she’d just named earlier in the evening. Knowing what was happening in her heart and in her mind, I wanted for her to have more self-confidence; a stronger belief in herself and her capabilities. I also desired for our home environment to provide more affirmation for one another.
So I made it a point to regularly let her know that I believe in her. That I know, whatever she is faced with on any given day, she’s going to handle it. I set an intention to provide the confidence for her that she was unable to provide for herself at that time.
This awareness and intention setting on my part helped her inner dialogue change from “I can’t,” I’m afraid,” “What if…” to something much more affirming and reassuring. And her inner shift was made possible through conscious action on my part to BE those very qualities I wanted to see more of in my world.
How about a workplace example.
I was coaching a team the other day. After a couple of activities that surfaced undesirable aspects of the team’s dynamic, someone said, “They just need to stop talking and do more listening.” This was followed by a few more comments of what “they” need to do. I asked if anyone was familiar with Gandhi’s wisdom of “being the change” and what did they make of it. We used the opportunity to, individually, write down the 1 or 2 qualities that we each most wish to see more of in our “world.” And to come up with 1 or 2 specific ways in which we could BE that which we most wish for.
For example, qualities desired included: positive, empathetic, non-judgmental, and curious about others. Specific actions identified included: be vigilant in my self-awareness to surface my own negative thoughts and criticisms of others, and to look for opportunities everyday to positively acknowledge a teammate.
This is the opportunity we have each day. To contribute to the desired environment in our relationships, our homes, our workplaces – not by simply wishing for others to change – but by BEING the change ourselves. By taking initiative to create what we want, rather than complaining about what we don’t want.
I want my household to be a more peaceful place, I start by being peaceful.
I want my team environment to be free of blame and judgment, I pay attention to my own blame or judgments (even when they’re unspoken), and I work to release them.
I set intention to let go of what’s undesired and step more fully into what IS desired. When I bump up my level of intention and engagement, I become an active force for the desired change. Rather than remaining a passive force for tolerating the status quo.
We, each one of us, have the ability to impact positive change. Our family, our team, our community, will become the desired family, team, community when each member embodies and personifies the desired change. So let’s – you and I – go first.
What is the change that you want to see in your world? More love? Gratitude? Trust? Forgiveness? Joy?
Let it begin with you.