From the archives - Give more, expect less (Sept 2009)
I had a wonderfully restful day yesterday and feel better for it today. Thank you for all the good wishes you sent.
I've had some emails recently from younger women thanking me for being their role model. I love getting those emails because one of the things I hope to achieve writing on my blog is to show, by example, how we can work towards a better future simply by living according to our values and putting in the hard work when it's necessary. I am quite confident in this role because I grew up in a time when mothers, aunts, grandmothers, teachers and older women in general supported other women, especially the younger ones new to married life and raising children. I grew up knowing that when it was my turn, I would pass on what I know and would encourage other women in their various roles, both as homemakers and working women.
I didn't know then that our culture would change so much and that instead of looking to the women around them, it would be celebrities who would be seen as role models. I didn't know that women would become so competitive and try to outshine each other. I didn't know that overseas holidays and flash houses would replace the hope of a good life as the prize everyone worked towards. How times have changed.
At the risk of sounding like my mother and grandmother, in my day we women supported and encouraged our friends, work mates and neighbours. We didn't envy each other; if one of us had something outstanding, it was a joy to everyone that one of us had such a prize. That doesn't happen much now. Now, in general, we are all trying to keep up with the Joneses. And I don't know why. Mr and Mrs Jones are probably up to their eyeballs in debt.
I hope that part of your return to a simpler life will allow you to show support to others. I hope you'll share what you know so that others might benefit through your knowledge. Selfishness and resentment belittle us all. Having more than someone else doesn't make you better than them, it just means you have more. I hope we're all able to open our hearts up to those around us and be a role model. If they are mean spirited, show, by example, how life should be lived, don't descend to their level.
If we are to change this sad trend towards selfish and mean lives, we will do it by living our lives with generosity and kindness and by modelling that behaviour. We all need to be proud of how we are living and what we're striving for and be open enough to talk about what we want in life. If we start doing that, and let others see we are living well, it will make a difference. Like everything it will be slow but that shouldn't stop us from starting. Live your life with confidence, show respect to those around you, give more and expect less. And when your friends ask you why you changed and if you're happy, tell them (without preaching), be their role model, and support and encourage them to follow your lead.
ADDITION: I've been thinking for a long time that I'll add a forum to my blog. You'd be able to ask questions, support each other and generally be part of an open community. Would you like this? Would you visit? It will be free. If so, I'll need a couple of people, with experience, to help me as moderators. Is anyone interested? The forum is almost ready to launch but I need your input to progress further.