Whether we wish we could serve the poor and alleviate suffering like Mother Teresa or pioneer critical scientific research like Marie Curie, we all dream of doing beautiful, world-changing things with our lives. Yet, no matter how much we might long to follow in the footsteps of such women, who in fact believes themselves capable of that kind of greatness?
Perhaps we can imagine ourselves doing so in the future — when we are “older and wiser” — but in our present, imperfect condition? Hardly.
The truth is, we all have flaws and shortcomings that lead us to believe we are unfit to make a deep impact in our world. What we must remember, though, is that even our most revered heroes are flawed. It has been reported, for example, that Mother Teresa suffered from deep depression and a sense of isolation throughout her life. Humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton, also struggled with several internal fears and anxieties.
Despite such challenges, however, both of these women lived out incredible, admirable lives – and we can, too. No one is perfect (news flash), and each of us has limitations. Whether we struggle with emotional or health issues, or face disheartening circumstantial obstacles, we are not unique in our weaknesses. Yet, we distinguish ourselves from one another in how we deal with these weaknesses.
What I observe most about the people I see achieving their goals is a complete focus on the needs of others. If we desire to make a difference in the world around us, we must trust more in the power of our love than in the discouragement of our disadvantages. Doing good is not about reaching a certain level of success or about being better than others, but about doing what is in our power to make the world around us just a little bit more beautiful.
Our desires were placed on our hearts for a reason, so let us never be afraid to begin the change we were created for. Though we will never be perfect and will continue to make mistakes, we are nevertheless capable of growth and of goodness — and even greatness — through the perseverance of our wills.
Helen Keller articulates this well: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
What do you dream of accomplishing? What fears or imperfections are holding you back?