Imagine a pond with a surface as smooth as glass. If you threw a pebble into the water, ripples would move out in all directions to the end of the pond. It is amazing to consider that such a small pebble influences the entire body of water, but it does. The pebble has changed the pond.
Just like the pebble hitting the water, our actions influence every environment of which we are a part. Once we choose to enter an environment, we influence it. When you enter a room full of people, you change it. Some look at you and go back to whatever they were doing or saying. Some recognize you and say hello. Some see you and don’t know who you are. However they react, people have been influenced by your presence. This is one of the principles of being human. There is no way to not influence it.
We have the power to influence every environment of which we are a part. What we choose to say or not say, what we choose to do or not do, is how we influence our environment. Whether we want to or not, our actions, our presence, just being, changes our world. With this awareness comes great responsibility. That we influence the world is a fact. How we influence the world is a choice.
Human beings influence the world through relationship, and we influence relationships by what we say and do. On a larger scale, society is the result of what everyone in it says and does. Most people speak and act without much awareness of how their words and actions are influencing the world, but whether they are aware or not, influence is occurring. Imagine what the world would be like if we acted with full knowledge of how our words and actions were influencing others? What if we chose our words and actions carefully, so as not to do any harm? The world would be transformed!
This concept is the heart of responsibility. If we accept that everything we do is influencing our environment, we understand we are helping to create our reality. If we don’t like our situation, making different choices and taking different actions will create different outcomes. We can use the power of our actions (what we say and do, or don’t say and don’t do) to change our world.
Our actions influence our relationships. For example, if someone you don’t like is struggling with something, do you offer help? If you don’t like this person, there is a reason. Not helping will keep things the same, or make them worse. Helping may make them better. Knowing this, why not help? If you are hanging on to resentment toward this person, your actions (not helping) are influencing the relationship. One small act has the potential to change things for the better, whether or not it is successful is not important; the fact that you offered to help is. That simple act of kindness not only has the potential to make the world better, it makes you better.
Think about all of the relationships in your life. Consider relationship as any other human being with which you interact. The relationship may be as simple as saying “Hi” to someone in a checkout line at the grocery store, or as complex as the one with a family member that has existed all of your life. It is through these relationships that we influence the world, and it is through these relationships that we are influenced.
We interact with others without much awareness of how we are influencing them, and how they are influencing us, but influence is happening. When we choose to say hello to someone we meet, we are tossing a small pebble into the pond. When we choose not to say hello, we are tossing a small pebble into the pond. We will influence the environment, just like the pebble influences the pond.
Accepting responsibility for our life requires us to understand that everything we do is influencing our environment. While it can be an overwhelming thought, it can also be a very empowering thought. Now that you know you will influence every environment, you can choose how you will influence that environment. So, how will you influence your world today?