Little Stones, Giant Ripples...

Little Stones, Giant Ripples...

“They are being so petty…”

Have you ever felt that you did not deserve criticism or judgment for an infraction because it was so small that “bigger” people should have excused it? You are not alone in this my sister.

But I daresay that because we have categorised misbehaviours and placed them on a scale that runs from the ‘very serious’, to the ‘barely wrong’, we easily excuse missteps on our part; indeed we see them as mere inconveniences, rather than major infractions for which we must be judged.

Very few of us sisters consider that we are wrong when we show up late for appointments; nor do we lose sleep because we made an appointment to meet with someone but could not keep it. We excuse our misbehaviour because we argue that some other urgent matter came up.

We are firm in our judgment, that to absent oneself from work for which one is paid, or even an unpaid assignment that one has promised to do is “one of those things” that happen.

We imagine that it surely will not shatter the earth to pass on information one has received about someone else, whether it is true or not, especially if that person is not very personable.

We hardly spare a thought for the harm “a little white lie” will do, especially where no-one is apparently affected by it.

Nor do we chastise ourselves over the failure to carry out an assigned or assumed task. We reason that there is always tomorrow for a job to be done, a promise to be fulfilled, a need to be met.

Or is there?

These seemingly inconsequential failings you hardly consider worth a thought, may not only affect how people within your sphere view you, but may negatively impact the fortunes of people with your background, or even your gender. For example, an employer who has noted your propensity to be late, and your failure to keep appointments to perform assigned tasks in time or at all, may categorise your behaviour as stereotypical. This may affect the next person with your background negatively, and keep her from securing an advantage that would otherwise have been available to her.

Although admittedly, the world is full of unkind and judgmental people, we are often our own enemies who place ourselves in difficulties and unenviable positions by the things we do or permit.

Remember that society has norms that must be respected for life to run smoothly. As a member of the community in which you live or work, you are expected to abide by them. These norms may be such that flouting them may hardly bring the roof down on one, but their neglect will little by little erode the confidence, the respect, and/or the esteem in which you should be held.

Indeed these little ‘nothings’ sometimes destroy the big things you set out to achieve and to which you devote so much hard work and enterprise.

My late mother had a saying: “your intelligence might find you a job, but your character will kick you out”.

Let us ponder these things dear sisters.    

“Though much is taken, much abides.” -from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson

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